A week following a tense TV interview in which she routinely avoided answering questions on delaying the royal commission into the finance sector, Kelly O’Dwyer, the Financial Services Minister, has admitted that the Government got the whole thing wrong.
In the wake of devastating evidence of misconduct from major banks, the Coalition government has faced a backlash for having argued so fervently against a royal commission ever taking place. Coalition frontbenchers including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have been forced to face the music as the royal commission uncovers shocking cases of misconduct in the financial sector in just its earliest hearings.
Federal treasurer Scott Morrison is naturally the most criticised Coalition member as it is under his purview to gauge the need for an inquiry into the finance sector. Deflecting his seeming incompetence Mr Morrison accused opposition leader Bill Shorten of politicising the issue.
Testimonies heard at the royal commission have provided evidence of financial planners impersonating client on the phone as well as banks charging fees to dead people. An early revelation regarding AMP misconduct saw the bank’s CEO voluntarily step down from his position.
During her TV interview last Sunday, Mr O’Dwyer was repeatedly asked at least 12 times whether or not the Government had made a mistake delaying the royal commission. She avoided answering the question each time it was asked.
However, following Mr Turnbull’s concession that it was a bad move to delay the inquiry, Ms O’Dwyer has since admitted that “with the benefit of hindsight” that they should have pursued the royal commission sooner.
She went on to say that the Coalition “did get the timing wrong”.
Despite her concession, Ms O’Dwyer reaffirmed that the Government was not inept and had been strengthening regulations and penalties for the financial sector in the lead up to the royal commission.
Labor has been quick to capitalise on the findings from the royal commission so far as it was once of their policy positions in 2016. The Government finally caved in to demands in late last year to hold the royal commission after their own backbenchers began supporting it.
The banks accepted the royal commission was necessary, perhaps not expecting so much would be revealed. So far commentators believe that the commission has only scratched the surface of entrenched misconduct within the banking and finance industry.