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There are calls for the Banking Royal Commission to be extended following the release of the commission’s interim report on Friday.
Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek said there was a strong case in favour of extending the banking royal commission in order to hear from more victims.
“More than 9,000 submissions have been received by the royal commission, but so far only 27 customers have had the chance to tell their stories publicly,” Ms Plibersek said.
The interim report concluded that greed had been a major driver of the banks’ misconduct.
In releasing the report, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the behaviour that’s been seen to date had been “unacceptable.”
“The interim report and the Royal Commission’s hearings to date make clear that some financial institutions have fallen far short of treating Australians honestly and fairly.”
Mr Frydenberg said that financial institutions had put profits before people, and that Australians "expect and deserve better".
“Greed has been the motive … as short-term profits have been pursued at the expense of basic standards of honesty,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Mr Frydenberg said that although the report contains criticisms of the regulators, ASIC and APRA, the blame ultimately lies with the financial institutions themselves.
“[The financial institutions] are ultimately the ones who must be held accountable and responsible for their actions.”
We have failed to deliver. Today is a day of shame for Australia’s banks - Anna Bligh
Ms Plibersek thanked the “brave” Australians who had come forward to tell their stories.
“[Labor’s] message is not to the royal commission, it’s to the Government … if the Commissioner asks for more time, it ought to be granted,” she said.
Ms Plibersek also said that Labor had called for a royal commission into the banks to be established in April 2016, but that Liberal party had voted against it 26 times.
“If it had been left up to Scott Morrison, banks would still be behaving this way.”
Thomas Clarke, from the University of Technology Sydney Business School, said that the government must accept that ASIC and APRA also have an obligation to act responsibly, and that they have failed to do so.
“Regulators saw their purpose to create stability … they succeeded in that. What they were really doing was creating a monopoly in which comfortable misconduct could thrive,” Mr Clarke said.
Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association, said there some shocking findings in the report.
“We have failed to deliver. Today is a day of shame for Australia’s banks. Having lost the trust of the Australian people, we must do whatever we can to earn that trust back,” Ms Bligh said.
The Banking Royal Commission’s final report is due by February 1, 2019.