Push to extend banking royal commission


Extending the banking royal commission is a necessary step to give thousands of victims a chance to tell their personal stories, Labor says.

The commission’s interim report is expected on Friday, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has this week released draft laws increasing penalties for financial crimes.

But Labor says only 27 victims have so far had their stories heard, out of more than 9300 submissions.

“If the banking royal commission needs to be extended in order to hear from more victims in more places – the Liberals must do it,” Labor’s financial services spokeswoman Clare O’Neil says.

“We’re particularly concerned the commission hasn’t been given the time to travel to more places in Australia – particularly regional areas – to hear from banking victims.”

The government has announced draft laws increasing the maximum jail penalties for certain criminal offences, and introducing a formula to calculate financial penalties for criminal offences.

The laws will also significantly increase the financial penalties for civil breaches and give courts discretion to strip contraveners of their ill-gotten gains in civil penalty proceedings.

The courts will also be made to prioritise compensation for victims over ordering the payment of financial penalties.

The new measures stem from the ASIC Enforcement Review Task Force, which reported to the government in December last year.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently said he will “favourably consider” any request to extend the banking royal commission, after the inquiry confirmed regulators had been far too soft on bad behaviour.

But banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC has so far appeared unlikely to request an extension of the one-year inquiry, having set down a hearing on policy issues for November.


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