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Part 2—Establishing the People of Australia’s Commission of Inquiry (Banking and Financial Services)

Part 2 Establishing the People of Australia’s Commission of Inquiry (Banking and Financial Services)

 

5   People of Australia’s Commission of Inquiry (Banking and Financial Services) is established

             (1)  A commission is established by this subsection, to be known as the People of Australia’s Commission of Inquiry (Banking and Financial Services).

             (2)  The Commission is constituted by 6 Commissioners, consisting of:

                     (a)  3 Judges, or former Judges; and

                     (b)  3 representatives of the Australian community.

             (3)  The Commissioners are to be appointed by a committee of members of the House of Representatives.

             (4)  The committee of members of the House of Representatives is to consist of:

                     (a)  a person nominated by the Prime Minister; and

                     (b)  a person nominated by the leader of the Opposition; and

                     (c)  a person nominated by a member of the Australian Greens who is:

                              (i)  a member of the House of Representatives; or

                             (ii)  if there is no member of the Australian Greens who is a member of the House of Representatives—a senator; and

                     (d)  a person nominated by a member of the Nick Xenophon Team who is:

                              (i)  a member of the House of Representatives; or

                             (ii)  if there is no member of the Nick Xenophon Team who is a member of the House of Representatives—a senator; and

                     (e)  a person nominated by a member of Katter’s Australian Party who is:

                              (i)  a member of the House of Representatives; or

                             (ii)  if there is no member of Katter’s Australian Party who is a member of the House of Representatives—a senator.

             (5)  The committee must also appoint one of the 6 Commissioners to be the Presiding Member of the Commission.

             (6)  A decision of the committee is made by the agreement of a majority of members of the committee.

6   Terms of reference

                   The matters into which the Commission must inquire are:

                     (a)  whether banking or financial services providers are engaged in unethical or unlawful conduct and, if so, the nature of that conduct; and

                     (b)  whether the infrastructure is in place to ensure that banking or financial services providers do not engage in unethical or unlawful conduct, including:

                              (i)  whether the laws governing the conduct of banking or financial services providers are sufficient to ensure that those providers do not engage in unethical or unlawful conduct; and

                             (ii)  whether the agencies regulating the conduct of banking or financial services providers are effective in ensuring that those providers do not engage in unethical or unlawful conduct, and if not why not; and

                            (iii)  whether there are alternatives, of practical use to consumers, to help consumers fairly resolve disputes with banking or financial services providers; and

                     (c)  the fairness and propriety of current contractual practice in terms of the rights of consumers (including borrowers) and the responsibilities of banking or financial services providers (including lenders); and

                     (d)  whether the conduct of banking or financial services providers in their current practices and procedures are failing to facilitate a fair and commercially conducive business framework; and

                     (e)  any matter that is reasonably incidental to a matter mentioned in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d).

7   Report to the Parliament

             (1)  The Commission must submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives a report containing:

                     (a)  the Commission’s findings of fact; and

                     (b)  the Commission’s recommendations as a result of the inquiry.

             (2)  The report must be submitted on or before the end of the period of 2 years starting on the commencement of this section, unless that period is extended (see section 8).

             (3)  The Commission must submit with its report a record of so much of the evidence before the Commission as the Commission thinks necessary to substantiate its findings of fact and its conclusions.

             (4)  If the Commission is of the opinion that, if any of its findings or conclusions or any of the evidence given before the Commission were laid before the Houses of the Parliament:

                     (a)  a person who has been or may be charged with an offence might not receive a fair trial for the offence; or

                     (b)  the conduct of an investigation of a breach or possible breach of the law, might be prejudiced; or

                     (c)  the existence or identity of a confidential source of information in relation to the enforcement or administration of the law might be disclosed or a person enabled to ascertain the existence or identity of that source; or

                     (d)  there might be prejudice to the safety or reputation of a person;

the Commission may submit those findings or conclusions, or that evidence, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in a separate report, together with a statement of its opinion.

             (5)  As soon as practicable after receiving the report and record of evidence, the Speaker of the House of Representatives must cause copies of the report and record, other than a separate report submitted under subsection (4), to be laid before each House of the Parliament.

             (6)  The Minister must table the Government’s response to the report within 6 months after copies of the report are laid before the House of Representatives.

8   Extending the period within which the Commission may report

             (1)  The Commission may request an extension of the period within which the Commission must report under section 7 by notice in writi ng to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

             (2)  If the Commission requests an extension, the Speaker must convene a committee made up of members of the House of Representatives to consider the request.

             (3)  The committee of members of the House of Representatives is to consist of:

                     (a)  a person nominated by the Prime Minister; and

                     (b)  a person nominated by the leader of the Opposition; and

                     (c)  a person nominated by a member of the Australian Greens who is:

                              (i)  a member of the House of Representatives; or

                             (ii)  if there is no member of the Australian Greens who is a member of the House of Representatives—a senator; and

                     (d)  a person nominated by a member of the Nick Xenophon Team who is:

                              (i)  a member of the House of Representatives; or

                             (ii)  if there is no member of the Nick Xenophon Team who is a member of the House of Representatives—a senator; and

                     (e)  a person nominated by a member of Katter’s Australian Party who is:

                              (i)  a member of the House of Representatives; or

                             (ii)  if there is no member of Katter’s Australian Party who is a member of the House of Representatives—a senator.

             (4)  The committee may extend the period within which a report is to be given.

             (5)  A decision of the committee is made by the agreement of a majority of members of the committee.