Mr Morrison has noted that he does not believe misconduct identified, or to be identified, by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry would undermine financial stability, claiming that the sector is strong enough to withstand such scrutiny.
“[I] can understand and share the view that the behaviour that has had the light shone on it really does lead people to really question the trust they have in people’s behaviour in those institutions,” the Treasurer said.
“But that is a very different matter to whether our banks are strong and whether they are financially stable.
“All of that is not under question and nothing is being presented, or I believe is likely to be presented, which would question the strength and system integrity of the stability of our financial system.”
The Treasurer cautioned against associating issues of misconduct with the broader state of the financial sector.
“Now, that’s critically important because that underpins everybody’s job in the country and we’ve got to be careful not to allow one to cross-contaminate the other, but on the behaviour issue, there are already laws that deal with this sort of behaviour.”
However, when recently asked why the government initially opposed a royal commission into the financial sector, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer responded: “Well, we also have to have as a government a very sober view not only on the issues around corruption and misconduct but also around financial stability.”
Treasurer slams call for taxpayer-funded compensation
Treasurer Morrison has also rejected calls from One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for taxpayers to fund the compensation of victims of misconduct.
“Put it into a fund, and that money should be there to pay all these claims by people that the banks have cheated,” Ms Hanson told the media.
Mr Morrison dismissed Ms Hanson’s suggestion, noting that it’s the responsibility of institutions found guilty of misconduct to remediate affected customers.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidising the bad behaviour of the banks,” Mr Morrison said.
“To the extent that any compensation is paid in relation to any of these matters, that will ultimately be a matter for those institutions to meet that and that will have to follow the normal legal processes.”
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has also been endowed with new powers to investigate misconduct and enforce the proposed penalties.
Charbel Kadib is a journalist on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel held roles with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.
Charbel graduated from the University of Notre Dame Australia with a Bachelor of Arts (Politics & Journalism).