After taking a full day to digest the ramifications of the bank levy contained in the federal budget, ANZ has released a strong statement against the 6 basis point tax.
ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott described the tax as a "regrettable policy" that is, in reality, a "tax on the millions of ordinary Australians who are bank shareholders and bank customers".
In line with the comments of the chief executives of the other three major banks, Mr Elliott's comments are a thinly-veiled threat to increase mortgage rates.
Mr Elliott also pointed to the $11.5 billion the banking sector pays in tax each year, making the sector the largest taxpayer in corporate Australia.
"The sector has also significantly strengthened its capital and liquidity base to ensure it is unquestionably strong and does not have to rely on implicit guarantees from government," Mr Elliott said.
"We believe the initial public support for the tax will prove to be misplaced and the speed which it is likely to pass into law highlights how divisive the banking industry’s relationship with many in Parliament and the broader community has become."
"While the banking industry has made itself an easy political target, the industry is taking action to significantly improve its relationship with customers and the community."
"It is now time for all our leaders to move on from populist bank bashing so we can work constructively with Parliament and policy makers on how we can best support the Australian economy," Mr Elliott said.
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