SUBJECTS: Banking Royal Commission, Pacific Islands Forum
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Joining us now for their take this morning, Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce, and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon. Morning to you both, gents.
BARNABY JOYCE: Morning, Sam.
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby should people have confidence in our banks so soon after the Commission exposed an ingrained culture of greed and corruption?
JOYCE: Well, it goes to show that we are doing something about it, and I commend the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg. We got 76 recommendations. 15 are in place at the moment. 20 we hope by the end of the year, and the rest by the end of next year. Really we are putting the financial institutions on notice. We’re taking this seriously, these will be implemented.
I’m pleased to say that the Labor Party supports the recommendations, so there should be no real hold ups. We should be able to get this through pretty well, quick – straight away.
DAVID KOCH: Yes, Joel, we heard from the Treasurer a moment ago – should the Government be doing more to rebuild trust in our financial services? Also, ASIC today coming out and saying it’s already putting charges, or the finishing touch, to charging the six big banks.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: Kochie, Josh Frydenberg shouldn’t expect any thanks for doing his job, and indeed, for doing it too slowly. As you pointed out, it’s more than six months since the Royal Commission reported. This was, of course, the Royal Commission Scott Morrison and his colleagues didn’t want to have, in fact, Barnaby Joyce voted against the holding of this Royal Commission.
So now, after a bit of pressure in the Parliament, he announces a plan to implement the recommendations sometime over the next 12 months. Well, where has he been, and what is this plan all about? Why doesn’t he just get on with the job he’s paid to do?
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby, do you want to respond to that?
JOYCE: Yes, first of all I acknowledge that I got it wrong. I did vote against the Royal Commission – I was wrong, and it’s quite evident we needed it. It’s quite evident we need to now pursue the recommendations. In politics that happens from time to time. I do also acknowledge that ASIC is already moving forward and ASIC has the power, now, to pursue those who broken the law and have acted basically without the intent of a proper customer/client relationship.
And even the Labor Party has brought up concern about certain issues, such as how we deal with brokerage, brokers. We don’t want to lose brokers because otherwise we’ll get a centralisation of the banking industry – just back to the big four. We want to make sure we’ve got a competitive market place with a real choice in it, and, you know, this is very complex. It’s a huge part of our economy - 440,000 people are employed in this section of the economy.
So, although we need to get things moving, we also have to be diligent because everybody has a connection to the banking industry whether they like, or not, and if this was to be wrong we would create huge damage.
KOCH: Yes, sure. Alright, let’s move on. Australia’s climate change…
FITZGIBBON: Kochie and Sam, can I just say on that…
KOCH: Yes, Joel.
FITZGIBBON: Can I just say on that, the same government reluctance to hold the Royal Commission is obviously manifesting in the reluctance to accept these recommendations. To paraphrase the Prime Minister, he needs to tell people whose side is he is on here: is he with the banks? Or is he with the consumer, the many who have been injured as result of banking.
ARMYTAGE: Do they have to be on a side here? Are they not implementing the recommendations, do we need to go back over that?
FITZGIBBON: I’m paraphrasing the Prime Minister, this is the sort…
ARMITAGE: Yeah, I think we will move on; I think we will talk about climate change.
FITZGIBBON: …of silliness we need to get out of the debate, but the government needs to get on with the job.
KOCH: Sure. Our climate change policy came under fire from leaders of the Pacific urging us to do more; this was the advice from Nationals leader, Michael McCormack – have a look:
Michael McCormack: They will continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit…
KOCH: Hmmm, Barnaby do we take the concerns about our Pacific neighbours seriously?
JOYCE: Yes we do. We have mutual obligation, and we know really what is at the crux of this, we see the dilemmas of Hong Kong and we don’t want them to come the fears of our region. So we must all work together. We are, of course, a venue where a lot of people come to work in Australia and we need those people to work in Australia. They get the job done because they come to work in Australia, and we have to work in such a form as we have a community of interests, we have a community that respects the liberties, the freedoms, and the future, and the integrity of our area. Now I hear what the New Zealanders had to say; I think they were a little bit cheeky, they were talking about the closure of the centre of our economy which the biggest exports – mining exports, coal exports – we could have turned around and said well you close down the dairy industry because the methane emissions from them would give you a higher per capita output than us. I think New Zealand has a responsibility to also act in good faith and to keep certain discussions behind closed doors because they are in the exactly the same group as us. We need to be a strong, resilient group because it’s a new world that we are moving into.
ARMYTAGE: Given, Joel, the ALP supported the coal – rejecting the immediate coal ban – are we taking our relationship with our neighbours for granted here?
FITZGIBBON: Well I know diplomacy isn’t Michael McCormack’s strong suit, and I note that Barnaby avoided any commentary on them, but the Prime Minister got into trouble last week because he went to the Pacific without anything in his tool kit. He went with a record of increasing emissions year on year over the course of the last four years, so it was a pretty poor starting point for him. If he had gone with a demonstration of his commitment to reducing carbon emissions here in Australia, than it would have been a different conversation.
ARMYTAGE: Ok, alright, look gentleman, thank you that’s all we got time for this morning, but we appreciate it.