BARNABY Joyce says he was “naive” and “wrong” to argue against the banking royal commission, which has uncovered a string of misconduct claims that he described as “beyond disturbing”.
As deputy prime minister and Nationals leader, Mr Joyce argued the royal commission wasn’t needed, as the government’s financial sector watchdog ASIC already had all the power it needed to prosecute rouge operators.
“I have apologised for being so naive to have swallowed their line of ‘we are good corporate citizens’ – maybe they should now as well,” Mr Joyce said.
“They should consider whether they should be in the financial planning business after the evidence delivered. It appears from evidence to be too much of a conflict of interest and a temptation for them,” he said
Mr Joyce blasted the banks for “blatantly taking the support of government” as justification to do what they like, and said they need to do a lot of work to rebuilt the trust of the Australian community.
This week, the inquiry’s hearings have focused on AMP charging clients for financial advice that was not provided, with a top executive on admitting the wealth giant had misled ASIC 20 times over the issue.
Nationals Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams fought for years, often against many of his Coalition colleagues, to get a royal commission in to the financial sector.
While Mr Joyce may be surprised at the inquiry’s findings, Senator Williams is not.
“I'm very proud I forced the issue and I know more wrongdoings will come out,” Senator Williams told The Leader.
“I hope what comes out of this is that we clean out the rouges and those who have done wrong face the music as far as punishment goes.
“The culture in our financial institution need to change from this culture of profit before people.”
Senator Williams has suggested the royal commission should be extended beyond February if commissioner Kenneth Hayne deemed it necessary.