Public ignored in bank commission

The banking royal commission, begrudgingly announced by Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison in November last year, is expected to get under way early this year.

And yet the main victims of banking exploitation, misconduct and fraud – the Australia public – are yet to be considered for public submission.

In response, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has created a webpage to allow the stories from victims of banking misconduct to be collected and presented to the royal commission before its commencement.

“The commission seems to be dragging its feet on allowing submissions,” said ACTU President, Ged Kearney.

“Its deadline to report is only nine months away. We are eager to do anything we can to enable more voices to be heard.”

With a draft report due on 30 September 2018 and a final report to be handed down on 1 February 2019, the unions want to ensure that the $ 75 million royal commission has all the evidence it needs to make a fair judgement of the foul play rife in Australia’s banking, superannuation and finance sectors.

The “regrettable but necessary” (as Scott Morrison puts it) royal commission will be headed by former high court judge Kenneth Hayne as is hoped to end years of uncertainty over the trustworthiness of our banking and financial institutions.

The commission will scrutinise all large and small banks, superannuation funds, mortgage brokers and home loan lenders, but, according to the PM: “will not be an open-ended commission, it will not put capitalism on trial, as some people in the parliament prefer”.

Labor Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen is worried that the Government will only skim the surface of the scandals ripping through the financial sector, calling on the Government “to get it right from the start” or, after the commission is over, we’ll only see a continuation of the current duplicity.

In order to get it right, says Mr Bowen it is “critical that consultation with banking victims’ groups occurs, to ensure that the victims are able to tell their stories. We also believe there should be strong protections put in place for whistle-blowers”.

ACTU President Ged Kearney shares similar concerns, saying that unless the commission is able to hear public concerns, it will show the people that “the Turnbull Government is more interested in protecting the banks than in ensuring that the system is fair”.

Do you feel the Government is doing enough to make it clear that the real victims of banking misconduct will be heard? Do you have a story to tell the royal commission? Here’s where to make your voice be heard.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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