Investigating Australia's banking sector
Australia's five largest banks have all been implicated in financial scandals of one form or another. How many more reasons do we need to hold a Royal Commission into the financial system in this country?
While the government refuses to act, there is a way forward. The Greens are leading a commission of inquiry into Australia's banking sector – bypassing the Turnbull Government, which has refused a much-needed Royal Commission.
It's time to hold the big banks accountable for predatory practices that have destroyed lives and families. The Australian people want outcomes, not political point scoring, and our bill will deliver outcomes if Parliament has its priorities straight.
The Greens’ Banking Bill
Our Bill could be a game-changer. Most importantly, the commission would have identical powers to a Royal Commission and would report to the Parliament rather than the government. Here is a summary of the key elements of our Bill:
- The Senate, in consultation with House MPs, would appoint the three former judges as Commissioners.
- The inquiry would run for two years, however the reporting timeline could be extended by resolution of the Senate. The Commission would have the power to issue public findings in the interim.
- Final reports would be provided to the Speaker and President of the Senate, and the public would have access to the final report at the same moment as MPs. There will be no ability for the government to sit on and delay the release of the report.
- Where the Commissioner’s findings would result in prejudicing the trial of someone examined by the Commission or reveal the identity of a whistleblower, Commissioners can provide a confidential report to the Speaker and President alongside the public report.
- Hearings will be public and can be held anywhere in the country. However, Commissioners can elect to have closed hearings if required for the safety and security of witnesses.
- The Commission can appoint Counsel to assist the inquiry, and has all the powers and privileges of a Royal Commission to subpoena documents, compel witnesses and punish for contempt.
- The Commission will have the explicit power to access material and information from ASIC or APRA.