Banking and finance

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Australia’s banking sector is among the most concentrated in the world, and requires Government intervention to ensure this does not harm the community, customers or taxpayers.
  2. A well-regulated, competitive and diverse banking sector serves the broader public interest and the economy.
  3. The oligopoly that dominates the banking sector in Australia is placing an unfair burden on the community, customers and taxpayers.
  4. Retail banking fees are generally regressive and should be as transparent and low as possible.
  5. Where banks are beneficiaries of government commitments to ensure the systemic stability of the financial system they should provide a transparent additional return to government revenue.
  6. The government has a role to ensure that people have access to impartial financial advice tailored to their circumstances.
  7. The banking and finance industry should serve the broader public interest by promoting financial stability, productive over speculative investment, social security and ecological sustainability.
  8. Publicly-owned financial institutions should form a key component of Australia’s banking sector.
  9. Financial institutions should be incentivised to play a key role in steering funds into more productive and sustainable long-term uses.
  10. All communities, including the most disadvantaged and remote, should have access to basic banking services on nationally comparable terms.
  11. Risks associated with an investment in financial instruments must be clearly disclosed.
  12. Australia should promote international cooperation to strengthen banking regulation in all countries and the oversight of cross-border banking groups.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. Banks to make a transparent return to government, including a levy in recognition of both the explicit and the implicit government support they receive.
  2. To require banks that are beneficiaries of express or implied government guarantees to contribute to a financial stability fund.
  3. Transferring savings and credit accounts between financial institutions to be made easy with any charges being minimal and fully transparent to consumers.
  4. To minimise ATM and other access fees, so that banks do not profit from people accessing their own money.
  5. To encourage or require lenders to provide suitable financial instruments for the establishment of long term finance for projects that will have a positive social, economic and environmental benefit.
  6. Effective regulatory supervision to enforce prudential regulation for Australian banks, and other financial institutions.
  7. Prudential regulation to be strengthened to ensure effective transparency and reduction of systemic risk.
  8. To implement reforms designed to ensure that the culture within banks does not lead to excessive risk-taking behaviour or otherwise create a risk to financial stability.
  9. An effective international regulatory regime for banking to ensure system stability.
  10. The Australian government to implement programs to improve Australians’ financial literacy and finance sector participation.
  11. To promote competition in the banking sector and provide support for not-for-profit organisations such as credit unions and building societies.
  12. Regulation of financial advice services to ensure impartiality, transparency and protection of consumer interests.

[Policy endorsed: November 2017]