Greens Treasury and Consumer Affairs spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments on the Government’s latest efforts to stave off a Banking Royal Commission by establishing another internal inquiry, this time via the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The Liberals are putting the cart before the horse. There is no point in setting up new compensation schemes until you have first focussed on examining systemic misconduct and unconscionable conduct in the financial services industry.
“You can’t just look at all the little problems in the financial sector in isolation. We’ve been doing that for too long. You need to take in the whole picture.
“A Royal Commission or equivalent with all its coercive powers is needed to uncover the full extent of misconduct in banking and insurance sector. A Royal Commission would be able to examine the structural issues that unpin this behaviour and would give victims of white-collar crime a platform for their story to be heard in full.
“A Royal Commission would also undercover instances of wrongdoing that might not be strictly illegal but that are clearly unethical and professionally questionable. We need to understand where misconduct is going unpunished because of shortcomings in our regulations and laws.
“Given the importance of banking to our economy, our leaders in the Australian financial system are in a privileged position, but are not too privileged to be beyond full scrutiny.
“The same applies to our Prime Minister and executive government. Their actions or inactions on matters of such importance must also face scrutiny, and if they won’t act the parliament must.
“Last week the Greens released advice from the Clerk of the Senate on how the Parliament could establish a Commission of Inquiry with equivalent powers to the Royal Commission if the Turnbull government continues to hold out against it,” he concluded.