Labor’s credibility in tatters on Royal Commission

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Date : 22 February 2019



22 February 2019


Today Labor has completed one of the most humiliating back-downs in recent memory, saying in their formal response to the Royal Commission that they will not accept all of its recommendations despite saying for weeks that they would.

It took 18 days for Bill Shorten to respond to the Royal Commission Final Report, and for 18 days Labor kept up the pretence that they would accept all of its recommendations. But today they have proved once again that you always have to look at what Labor does, and not what Labor says.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Shadow Financial Services Minister Clare O’Neil have for three weeks been saying that Labor had accepted all of Commissioner Hayne’s recommendations:

“if the Royal Commission recommends it, it shall be done”.
(Chris Bowen, AFR, 23 January 2019)

“We’ve accepted the recommendations”.
(Chris Bowen, RN Breakfast, 5 February 2019)

“we will implement every single recommendation that’s in the Royal Commission report”.
(Clare O’Neil, ABC News Breakfast, 4 February 2019)

At the time, Clare O’Neil went as far as saying that Labor would respond “within a week”, but after waiting three weeks we now find out that Labor was lying all along.

Labor’s formal response document says:

“Labor is being crystal clear – we will implement 75 recommendations”.

There are 76 recommendations in the Royal Commission Final Report.

Labor had specifically said they would accept recommendation 1.3 on mortgage broking:

“If you accept the Royal Commission’s report, then you accept the recommendation, as we do”.
(Chris Bowen, ABC News Breakfast, 5 February 2019)

ROWLAND: As far as I can see, the only difference between you and the Government is on the issue of mortgage broking … Will Labor accept that recommendation?

BOWEN: We already have, Michael.
(Chris Bowen, ABC News Breakfast, 5 February 2019)

KELLY: No, no I’m talking mortgage brokers.

BOWEN: Yeah I understand … I think it’s frankly irresponsible for the Government one day later to come out and say ‘Well actually we’re cherry picking. We’re not accepting that recommendation’. We’ve accepted the recommendations.
(Chris Bowen, RN Breakfast, 5 February 2019)

KARVELAS: Do you agree that all commissions should go for mortgage brokers?

O’NEIL: In principle, we do, PK.
(Clare O’Neil, RN Drive, 4 February 2019)

Using Bowen’s own terms, Labor has come out after three weeks and “cherry picked” the recommendations.

It has taken Labor 18 days to respond, and in those 18 days they have backed down on retrospective penalties for superannuation trustees, uncapped penalties on corporates and now on mortgage brokers.

With Chris Bowen and Clare O’Neil’s credibility in tatters, how can anyone now trust what Labor says?



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