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Greens propose powerful parliamentary alternative if Turnbull baulks on banking Royal Commission

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 25 Aug 2016

The Greens spokesperson for Finance, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, said, “If the Turnbull Government refuses to act on establishing a Royal Commission into the misconduct in the financial services sector, then I want Parliamentarians to know there is another powerful option for us to pursue.

“We have received advice that a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, with similar powers to a Royal Commission, can be established by an Act of Parliament. This could be put forward by a cross-party group, pass through the Senate and then (with Labor and cross-bench support) would only require one Liberal or National Party back-bencher to cross the floor in the House of Representatives for it to become law.

“If the Executive won’t act on an issue important to the Australian people then the Parliament must consider all its options.

“Whilst this power has been rarely pursued in the past, it is well within the Parliament’s prerogative as outlined by the Constitution, and reflects the nation’s mood in electing a diverse and balanced Parliament.

“A Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry would have former judges appointed as Commissioners; it would have the powers to compel witnesses and evidence; and it would have the power to conduct searches. 

“Australians overwhelmingly support a Royal Commission into the financial services sector and are tired of the excuses and inaction from the Turnbull Government. 

“The Greens have led the call for a Royal Commission into financial scandals such as the $4bn collapse of Australia’s Forestry Managed Investment Schemes, and we propose this option for all Parliamentarians to consider.

“We will be supporting Labor’s motions calling upon the Government to establish a banking Royal Commission. The Greens have put these motions before the Senate on several previous occasions. But if further motions fail to convince the Government to act then the Parliament needs to collectively consider the option of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry.

“Labor through Senator Stephen Conroy has recently said, ‘If we have the capacity to put forward legislation to introduce a Royal Commission, then I think it should be on the table for us.’ What the Greens have done today is provide that option to Labor and the Parliament,” he concluded.

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