Labor has rubbished the Morrison government’s delay in implementing the royal commission recommendations and taken aim at new crossbencher Craig Kelly, telling him to vote his conscience.
Speaking to the Senate, shadow minister for financial services Stephen Jones blasted the government for failing to implement the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission and called the decision to axe responsible lending laws “a breach of faith with the Australian people”.
“It’s a broken promise. It’s said to be about the flow of credit in the Australian economy. It’s not. It’s a policy orphan. It’s a problem in search of a solution,” Mr Jones said, adding that the big banks have “armies of lawyers” and “well-oiled publicity machines” to defend their interests while Australians only have the law.
The move to axe responsible lending laws for the nominal purpose of increasing the flow of credit to the economy has been met with widespread criticism from consumer groups, who view it as empowering big banks to continue the bad behaviour that sparked the royal commission in the first place.
“On the day the royal commission’s final report was handed down the Treasurer took it in his hot little hand and ambled down the hall to the blue room in Parliament House. We had quite a performance. There were tears and all. He railed against the sales-driven greed culture of the banks,” Mr Jones told the Senate.
Mr Jones also called upon rogue MP Craig Kelly, who recently departed the Liberal Party to sit on the crossbench, to “stick to the promises” he made to his electorate and vote against the bill, and noted that Kenneth Hayne had recommended that responsible lending laws remain in place.
“These are the very laws which this bill seeks to remove, the very laws that Commissioner Hayne described as ‘critical’ in evening the balance of power when a customer goes to see their bank for a loan, and the very laws that have protected this country’s financial system from the instability that has been so much a characteristic of the banking systems in other countries around the world,” Mr Jones said.