01 December 2017

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well thanks for coming everybody, Ill cover two topics before taking questions. Well we all know that Malcolm Turnbull embracing a Royal Commission into the banks is the biggest backflip in modern Australian political history. But if you are going to conduct a backflip like this, please do it competently. Please get the details right.

What weve seen are the terms of reference cobbled together with no consultation with victims, with consumer groups, apparently no consultation with banks, and the terms of reference being fundamentally flawed.

Even yesterday when they issued the terms of reference they mentioned superannuation. Today the Prime Ministers announcement says superannuation (excluding self-managed superannuation funds). Now regardless of the merits of that, this is a Government which is simply making it up as it goes along.

We saw Christopher Pyne this morning accept that the Government decided to have a Royal Commission into the banks because the banks said it was okay. He said the banks had given a permission slip, in effect, so the Government decided to hold a Royal Commission. Ive seen Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull denying there was any connection.

So I think it would be good to know exactly when the Government knew the banks would be saying yes to the Royal Commission, and when the Cabinet decided to say yes to the Royal Commission because it beggars belief that its a complete coincidence that on the same day the banks gave a permission slip for the Royal Commission the Cabinet, just by coincidence agreed to hold one.

Also of course weve seen the Government in their normal, juvenile, churlish, partisan political way, target industry funds, as a result, as part of the terms of reference. Now superannuation is part of the financial services industry. We have said consistently that it would be covered by the scope of the Royal Commission but to target industry funds, a well performing sector in superannuation with good returns, just shows how political how desperate this Government is.

The Government has now appointed Ken Hayne as the Royal Commissioner. A former High Court judge is an appropriate level of appointment, an appropriate level of experience and expertise for a Royal Commission. I have pointed out before that if Labor was in office we would have more than one Royal Commissioner. This would ease the workload on the Royal Commission, enable it to work more quickly and it would enable more expertise to be available to the Royal Commission. It is a model which has worked well in the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse that was established by the Gillard Government. We remain supportive of the appointment of more Royal Commissioners and would be open to being consulted by the Government on the sorts of person who could be appointed. I said earlier this morning that it's not always necessary to consult with an Opposition about a Royal Commission but where we have been calling for it for 18 months it would be appropriate for the Government to actually try to make this a bipartisan process which it clearly has not been over the last 48 hours.

One other topic before I take your questions.

This morning the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, the leader of the National Party called on Malcolm Turnbull to resign as Prime Minister before Christmas. Merry Christmas from the National Party Prime Minister, thanks for the Royal Commission now please quit. That's the message from the National Party.

I'm going to do very something very unusual here, I'm going to back Malcolm Turnbull. He might not have support in the National Party, he might not have support in the Liberal Party but we in the Labor Party are more than happy for him to continue as leader of the Liberal Party right up to the next election.

We would be very delighted to have him as a leader of the Liberal Party at the next election, he's got our support to do so even if he doesn't have the support of the Liberal or National Parties. We are prepared to back Malcolm.

Happy to take any questions.

Thank you.