Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 67

Mr PASIN (Barker) (16:15): Those opposite want the people of Australia to believe that those on this side of the chamber have spent our time in this place since being elected running some sort of protection racket for the banks. Let me tell you something about my history; it might mean something about what I think of banks. I'm no fan of banks. I grew up around the kitchen table, often when my parents would be close to tears, and I'd ask them, 'Mum, what's the problem?' and she'd say, 'Son, we're paying interest on our bank debt of over 20 per cent.' I wasn't young enough to calculate what 20 per cent meant, but I knew it was significant. I knew it was causing harm to my family, so, don't for one minute think that I'm a great fan of the banks.

Ladies and gentlemen, our job is to look at what we can do to fix problems. What have we done? Those opposite don't want to talk about what they've done. What they've actually voted against are some of the strongest regulatory improvements and strongest regulatory outcomes in terms of banks and their regulators in modern Australian history. We've established the Financial Complaints Authority, a one-stop shop to resolve complaints. We've created a framework to hold banking executives to account. We've boosted banking and financial services competition to benefit customers. We've provided over $70 million to enhance the capabilities and activities of the regulator, ASIC. We've created a new deputy chairman of ASIC—we focussed on enforcement and appointed the highly regarded Daniel Crennan QC to the position.

We had a choice. We could have either provided stronger rules, regulations and resources to the regulators or had a royal commission. We thought, at the time, it was better to get on with fixing the problem. But I won't be lectured by those opposite about these things, because, do you know what? When we moved to establish the royal commission—indeed, before we did—one thing was missing: the Leader of the Opposition's terms of reference. There were no terms of reference. He wasn't prepared to tell us what he expected to see in a royal commission. I took the opportunity to check his letter, and this is a really scary prospect: his letter to the then Prime Minister indicated that the Prime Minister could direct the commissioner on how to run the royal commission. The Leader of the Opposition clearly doesn't understand the separation of powers. He was suggesting that he could get the Prime Minister to direct the royal commissioner. To think that we could have a potential Prime Minister who doesn't understand that there is an important need for independence within a royal commission!

We've heard also some of the compelling stories out of the royal commission—they're compelling and they're sad. Those opposite assume that the regulators don't have that information to hand. I don't think, with respect, that's a safe assumption to make. It's safe to say these have been ventilated in the royal commission. I, like the Prime Minister, share the view that I'm grateful that this process is allowing some closure for individuals, to allow the hurt to be ameliorated. But to therefore assume that the regulators didn't have this information and weren't working to resolve the issues is, I think, particularly unfair.

But the biggest issue here, and it is one which I'm not going to let those opposite get away with, is that many of the stories which have given us cause for concern out of the royal commission have come from the broader financial services sector. Sure, some have related to banks themselves, but many of the ones, even the ones we've heard today, come from the broader financial industry sector—superannuation, insurance. I remember distinctly that those opposite were pretty keen for the superannuation industry not to be included and for the broader financial services sectors not to be included. Let's be clear. This place can do some great work, and it does its best work when we extend our hand over the divide, as the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did on Monday this week. Let's stop playing politics with this and let's get on with fixing the problem. That was our intention. It has been our intention from day one, and it's our intention now. If you want to play politics, have fun; the people of Australia are switching off.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): The discussion has concluded.