Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Malcolm Turnbull’s resistance to a royal commission into banks is flouting public opinion and will test his own backbenchers, who have their fingers on the electoral pulse on this hot-button issue.

An Essential poll out Tuesday found that 64% supported a royal commission with only 13% opposed. Support has risen five points since April, as the debate spearheaded by Labor has intensified.

Bill Shorten knows he is on a good thing, and he intends to stick to it. Labor is out daily pushing the case for a royal commission.

Turnbull’s attempt to counter with his recent plan to bring bank executives before a House of Representatives committee at least annually has been seen as little more than token.

Even in parliamentary terms it is limited. Nationals senator John Williams is critical of the lack of involvement of senators. The Senate committee system has done a good deal of investigation into the instances of rorts by the banks, and Williams says pointedly: “Involvement of senators [in quizzing the bank executives] would give better outcomes and better questions”.

Williams is one of the Coalition backbenchers publicly pressing for the government to do more than it has so far signalled. He and Queensland Liberal Warren Entsch are pushing the idea of a banking tribunal, through which people with grievances could seek justice.

Entsch says “some of these people have been battling for over a decade” with the banks, which have the capacity to throw a lot of money at lawyers, holding the strong advantage over victims who lack resources. A tribunal would put banks' behaviour in the spotlight by showcasing the examples of malpractice, Entsch argues.

Its operation, which he says should include enforceable decisions as well as fines and redress, would be a disincentive to bad behaviour. Those who could seek redress would include victims of both financial advice and lending rorts.

A parliamentary inquiry into impaired loans for small business and property development, which reported in May, found “there has been – albeit in a minority of cases – a persistent pattern of abuse of the almost complete asymmetry of power in the relationship between lender and borrower”. The committee recommended a process to examine contentious cases and determine restitution in circumstances of “unconscionable conduct”.

Entsch argues the establishment of a tribunal would lead to quicker results than a royal commission, while acting as a stick on the banks.

When the new parliament starts, Labor will put up motions calling for a royal commission. Only the government can set up such an inquiry but if a motion was passed in the Senate – which is likely – it would be embarrassing for Turnbull.

Williams, who has been a leading participant in the debate about banking ethics, has called consistently for a royal commission but wants it into white-collar crime more widely. He says, however, that depending on the terms of reference he would probably cross the floor on a motion for a royal commission into banking. “I don’t want to make a hypocrite of myself in my last three years [in the Senate],” he says, but predicts the numbers would be there without his vote.

Crucially, the government would have to make sure it kept its numbers intact in the House of Representatives, where it has a majority of only one. Presumably it would – the stakes would be too high for defections on such a high-profile test so early.

But the mood in the Coalition parties' ranks will be important in determining what extra action Turnbull will have to consider, short of a royal commission.

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-banking-story-has-a-way-to-run-for-malcolm-turnbull-64010

Federal departments had no specific COVID plan for aged care: royal commission counsel

arrow_forward

Australia's politicians have learned that in the era of coronavirus, the future comes at you fast

arrow_forward

5 Reasons to Choose Pipe Relining

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

5 Reasons to Choose Pipe Relining

There’s nothing like a damaged pipe to stress you out and keep you up throughout the night. Depending on the extent of the damage, a pipe repair can be a complicated and time-consuming process. ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Reinventing The Outside Of Your Office

Efficient work is a priority in most offices. You need a comfortable interior that is functional too. The exterior also affects morale. Big companies have an amazing exterior like university ca...

News Company - avatar News Company

Kaspersky and Ferrari partnership: tailoring cybersecurity for an iconic brand

Kaspersky is commemorating the 10 year anniversary of its strategic partnership with iconic, global brand - Ferrari. The cybersecurity company is a sponsor of the brand’s Formula One racing team...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion