MPI - Banking Royal Commission

I rise to speak on the Morrison government's failure to act on delivering better protections for Australian consumers after it voted 26 times against establishing a banking royal commission. 

We now know the finance sector has fallen short of treating Australians honestly and fairly. The finance sector has made mistakes and needs to apologise for those mistakes. Mr Morrison, I ask you: where is your apology? The big banks have, one after another, admitted wrongdoing. Where is your apology to hardworking Australians who have been taken advantage of daily by those big banks? Mr Morrison, where is your apology for being so out of touch as to claim that there simply was no problem and that Labor's insight was just a populist whinge? Well, Mr Morrison, the issue is quite popular now, isn't it? The Australian people have received your response loud and clear. You chose to pass the buck, to push ownership elsewhere, anywhere but where it lies—with yourself.

'Labor was to blame' was your response. The irony is not lost on Australia. It was Labor who, for month after month, called for a banking royal commission, and it was you who fought tooth and nail against it—26 times, in fact, you voted against it. That is 26 times you denied a fair go to ordinary Australians, 26 times you failed to protect and stand up for Australians and 26 times that you—as Treasurer no less—defended what has now come to light about the 54,000 breaches of terrorism-financing and money-laundering laws. And that was just one bank. Was it not yesterday that you stood in front of the Australian people and proclaimed that the Liberals were the party of strength, that you were protecting Australia from organised crime and money laundering and that keeping Australia safe and secure was the government's top priority? That's cute, isn't it?

Why should the Australian people trust a government that had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, in the first place, to hold this royal commission? If there is one thing the banking royal commission revealed it's an issue close to my heart, the exploitation of older Australians by people in positions of trust, be they financial institutions, family, friends or carers. Revelations of irresponsible lending from the banking royal commission are a sobering reminder of the banks' failure to help protect older Australians from financial abuse, scams and fraud. These revelations are also a reminder that this incompetent government stood in the way and failed to act in the best interest of these people for years.

The pattern is clear, and we ask ourselves: what institution will fall next because of this government's neglect? I think of our aged-care sector, which has reached a crisis point under this government: '26 times too late' is the cry of the Australian people. It is now the cry of our elderly. Our aged-care system is in such a mess under this incompetent, do-nothing government that it had to call a royal commission into its own failings. That is how incompetent and inept this government is. Those opposite should be ashamed of the five years of their government's failure to protect older Australians.

Time and time again, Mr Morrison, you refused to cooperate, offering nothing but scaremongering and empty rhetoric about a so-called conspiracy aimed at undermining confidence in our financial system—$100 million in fines later, with more on the way, and I must admit that you were right, Mr Morrison. This has been quite the conspiracy. It has been the conspiracy of a government uninterested in keeping our big banks accountable and uninterested in protecting the financial interests of hardworking Australians. It has been a conspiracy embedded within neglect by this out-of-touch government and the out-of-touch attitude that has plagued it from day one. It has been a conspiracy that cares more for the profit of the government's own interests than for a fair go for the Australian people.

This government has let Australians down and is still doing it, day after day. It's time the government called an election so the Australian people can voice their opinions on how inept the government is and how it has failed them right across the board, whether we are talking about the banking royal commission or about the royal commission into the aged-care sector and its own failing— (Time expired)