The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP
20 February 2019
LABOR REHEATS GOVERNMENT RESPONSE & TRIES TO PASS IT OFF AS THEIR OWN
In their latest attempt to appear tough in response to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, the Labor Party has rolled out “reporting requirements” for banks, ASIC and AFCA that either already exist or the Government has already committed to implementing in its comprehensive response to the Final Report.
- The Coalition Government set up hearings, three years ago, at which the banks regularly report to Parliament, with the next hearing scheduled for next month.
- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been reporting to Parliament for 30 years – even before they became ASIC, as the Australian Securities Commission.
- In the Government’s response to the Final Report, it clearly stated, “The Government will further strengthen regulatory oversight and transparency of remediation activities through increasing the role of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) in the establishment and public reporting of firm remediation activities.”
It’s embarrassing, Labor is simply playing catch up.
In 2016, the Coalition Government set up hearings into the big four banks, requiring the chief executive officers of each bank to appear before the Standing Committee on Economics.
The Committee’s Deputy Chair is Labor’s Matt Thistlethwaite and its members include Labor’s Matt Koegh and Josh Wilson. There have been four rounds of hearings since 2016, with the most recent having taken place in October 2018 and the next scheduled for March 2019.
Was Labor not paying attention at these hearings? Given the Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Clare O’Neil, turned up to the last hearing to ask the banks questions, perhaps this is where she got this “new idea” for their latest announcement.
When it comes to ASIC, there is already the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services – a committee that “monitors and reviews activities of ASIC”.
This Committee has been around for more than 30 years, having held hearings in November 2016, June 2017, August 2017, October 2017, December 2017, February 2018, August 2018 and October 2018. Its current members include Labor’s Anthony Chisholm, Ged Kearney, Matt Keogh and Chris Ketter.
If this alone doesn’t discredit Labor’s thought bubble, then perhaps Labor might have heard of Senate Estimates at which ASIC will be appearing today and providing the Parliament with an update on how it plans to implement Commissioner Hayne’s recommendations.
Further and as stated in the Government’s response, “Starting in three years, the Government will establish an independent inquiry to review and assess whether industry practices have changed following the Royal Commission and have led to better consumer outcomes. The Government will also require a similar assessment of the regulators in three years by the new regulator oversight body that the Government has agreed to establish.”
Another day, another political stunt from Labor, but still no response to the Final Report.
The Coalition Government is taking action on all 76 recommendations contained in the Royal Commission’s Final Report and, in a number of important areas, is going further. Restoring trust in Australia’s financial system is part of the Coalition Government’s plan for a stronger economy.