Australian Politics: Malcolm Turnbull Protected Big Banks
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has admitted that he was wrong to oppose a royal commission into the country’s finance sector.
Turnbull and his senior colleagues spent two years arguing against an inquiry into Australia’s finance industry, saying it would undermine the economy.
The prime minister caved under pressure from the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) and members of his own government in December and established the inquiry.
After only two weeks of public submissions the inquiry has uncovered evidence of systematic malpractice in the industry.
Turnbull on Monday conceded that not supporting the commission was a clear political error.
“You are all right when you say politically it would have been better for us if we had done it years ago,” he told reporters.
“Politically, all of the commentators are right when they say we would have been right to establish one earlier.”
During the second week of submissions, the inquiry heard that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) had regularly charged fees to dead customers.
Bill Shorten, leader of the ALP, on Sunday called on Turnbull to introduce a compensation scheme for victims of banking malpractice.
“Given the shocking evidence that has been revealed so far, it is time the government gave serious consideration to a compensation scheme for the victims of proven wrongdoing,” he wrote in a letter to the prime minister.
“It’s unacceptable for people to suffer because of the misconduct of others, with no dependable access to justice.
“It’s also important that victims of financial wrongdoing have the chance to have their say in this process.”
“If the commission needs more time and resources to keep doing their work, Labor call on the government to give it to them. You cannot use the original timeframe as an excuse to cover up further revelations of wrongdoing,” said Bill Shorten.
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