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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 63


Ms O'TOOLE (Herbert) (15:50): 'A populist whinge'—that's how our now Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has referred to calls for the royal commission into banking. That was something that the LNP government simply did not want. For more than 600 days, this arrogant, out-of-touch LNP government ignored Labor's and the Australian people's call for a royal commission. The then Treasurer and now Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, did everything possible to protect his banking mates. But, after 600 days, the then Treasurer and now Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced one of the shortest royal commissions in Australian history, referring to it as a 'regrettable decision'.

The stories so far in the royal commission are nothing but devastating. Let's go through some of the facts revealed in the royal commission that the Prime Minister did not want anyone to hear. ASIC has estimated, based on explosive evidence in the royal commission, that AMP and NAB gouged an estimated $1 billion from customers without providing them any service at all. The Commonwealth Bank has been caught charging fees to people who they knew had died. Some of these people had passed away more than a decade ago. NAB's Introducer Program led to rampant fraud, with one introducer paid over $488,000 in fees. Some of these introducers paid cash bribes in paper envelopes to brokers so they would push through loan applications and ignore missing details. That's fraud. The Commonwealth Bank knew the royal commission witness David Harris had a gambling problem, but they kept on offering him credit limit increases anyway. AMP admitted that it lost count of how many times it lied to ASIC. ANZ pushed a fourth generation farming family into selling their home within six weeks. ANZ pushed superannuation products through its bank branches despite knowing the tellers did not have the qualifications to advise the customers properly. ANZ earned $3.6 billion from this scheme, and it paid a paltry fine of $1.25 million.

On Tuesday, we heard evidence that Grant Stewart's son, who has Down syndrome, was bullied into signing up for insurance that he didn't want, need or even understand. Earlier this week we also heard that one insurance company, ClearView, broke the law over 300,000 times. And then there is a document tabled regarding the Commonwealth Bank's audit of its customers on Palm Island in my electorate. On Palm Island alone, Hannover Life Re charged customers 383 transactions for a total of $16,401 during a 14-month period, and St Andrew's Life Insurance had charged Palm Island residents 313 transactions for a total of $12,857 over the same period. According to the census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Palm Island is one of the 10 most disadvantaged communities in Australia. This is absolutely unconscionable and disgraceful behaviour.

Last week the Prime Minister was having dinner and cosying up to the NAB CEO, Andrew Thorburn. This is the same bank that last year announced plans to sack one-fifth of their workers over the next three years whilst announcing on the same day a $6.6 billion annual profit. How out of touch can he truly be? At the same time that the Prime Minister is cosying up to the banks, I'm talking to veterans about this out-of-touch government—a government that is continuing to ignore the royal banking commission and the fact that the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation needs to be included in the royal commission. Labor has written not one, not two but three letters to the LNP government demanding that the CSC be included, but this arrogant LNP government refuses to hear Labor's calls and refuses to act in the best interests of our veterans by including the CSC in the royal commission.

Last week the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten; shadow minister Clare O'Neil; and I held a banking roundtable in Townsville. We heard stories that were chilling. We heard stories from veterans and people who had lost everything through bad practice from poor banking activities. After hearing their stories, the very next day the Leader of the Opposition wrote to the Prime Minister asking for him to provide an opportunity for more victims across the country to give evidence about banking misconduct. But once again Prime Minister Scott Morrison is refusing. This is a man who puts profits before people. This is a man who cannot guarantee that he works in the best interests of Australian people because we know he works in the best interests of the banks. Let's not wait another 600 days. I call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to extend the royal commission and to also include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. (Time expired)