27 November 2017

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well thanks for coming everybody. More indications today that this Liberal Government will do anything and say anything to avoid a Royal Commission into Australia's banks. They will stop the Parliament sitting despite the fact that it has been scheduled to sit for around 12 months this coming week and they will engage in yet more policy on the run with this latest proposal from the Treasurer you read about this morning. A report that's already been rejected by a National Party Senator who says he doesn't support the Treasurers proposed policy on the run.

Now here is an important point: if instead of using the last 18 months to avoid holding a Royal Commission into the banks, that if Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison had actually agreed to a Royal Commission into the banks when Labor proposed one, that Royal Commission would now be at an end. We would be dealing with recommendations and be implementing those recommendations.

So we have had 18 wasted months from Scott Morrison and yet again he attempts another reset of policy when it comes to financial services and banking, making it up as he goes along in a move which has been rejected by his own number today, by Senator Williams today.

So there is little doubt that this Treasurer will do anything to avoid doing the right thing on a Royal Commission into the banks. He should have done it 18 months ago, we could have gotten on with it. Instead we have had misteps, false starts, resets and we see more of those again today as this Treasurer desperately flails around. Happy to take questions on that or other matters.

JOURNALIST:Do you back the idea of a compensation scheme for victims of financial frauds and should it be funded by taxpayers or the banks?

BOWEN:Well these are matters which could properly be examined through a thoroughly constituted inquiry: a Royal Commission, going through all the different models etc. Now we have previously said there is a place for a compensation scheme.

Clearly the Treasurer is making it up as he goes along, he doesn't know how it is going to be funded, Senator Williams saying the banks shouldn't be forced to fund it. This is all just a rolling farce.

JOURNALIST:The Government insists this has been in the works for months and is it fair to call this a desperate a tempt to fend off the most recent banking commission push from Barry O'Sullivan and George Christiansen?

BOWEN:Of course. Of course it is. I mean, how can they pretend it is not? They have gone to the lengths of cancelling parliament. Now we can argue about about whether that's to avoid a Liberal Party spill or avoid a Royal Commission, it's a bit of all of the above. A bit of all of the above. And we've seen attempt after attempt, every time the Treasurer comes out and says we don't need a Royal Commission because we've just done this, or just done that, and none of it works, none of it works. The fact of the matter is ordinary Australians know we need a Royal Commission, we need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of all of these issues and the best way forward and it will take a Labor Government it appears to do that but it would just be better if they had gotten on with it 18 months ago.

JOURNALIST:Just on another matter why should voters in Bennelong believe Kristina Keneally is committed to the area if she was scoping out a run in the ACT soon to be third Federal seat?

BOWEN:Well you've only got to see Kristina Keneally campaign in Bennelong to know she is one hundred per cent committed to something. She is campaigning with energy, with commitment, with gusto. She wants to be the member for Bennelong and be a member for Bennelong for the long run. You know she is part of that community, she doesn't live at Bondi like the current member for Bennelong. She is part of the community, she is campaigning for that seat, that is the place she wants to represent. She is doing a great job in doing so.

Any other questions? All good? Thanks very much.