Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has finally relented on his party’s stance against a royal commission into Australia’s banking system, today announcing a formal inquest into rampant misconduct in the financial sector.
His announcement comes after heads of Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac, and ANZ urged the government to intervene, using an open letter to Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison to say a royal commission would “put an end to the uncertainty and restore trust, respect, and confidence.”
Appearing before the press at Parliament House, Turnbull today said “extremely serious” misconduct in the sector – including allegations of failing to curtail money laundering and the financing of terrorism, wildly inflated salaries for executives, and the unethical treatment of consumers – necessitated an investigation of Australia’s “banks, big and small, wealth managers, superannuation providers, [and] insurance companies.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, whose party has long called for a royal commission into the financial sector and promised to institute the process should they come to power, slammed the PM for only acting after the letter.
It says everything about Turnbull’s values and priorities that he only agreed to Labor’s Royal Commission when the banks told him he had to.— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) November 29, 2017
To give you a rough guide to how keen the Government is to hold the bloody thing, here’s how Finance Minister Matthias Cormann reacted after Turnbull’s announcement:
Tfw it’s only Thursday pic.twitter.com/spiHUaupnF— James O'Doherty (@jmodoh) November 29, 2017
Turnbull said the royal commission would be asked to hand down its final report on February 1, 2019.
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Image: Sky News