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Individual bankers should pay the price, says former PM


Individual bankers who have done the wrong thing should be punished but Australia doesn’t need its system “gummed up” with excessive regulation, Tony Abbott is warning ahead of the banking royal commission revealing its recommendations later today.

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Banks and the wider financial services industry are bracing for a scathing final report from royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC, which will be released after the share market has closed today.

Having already condemned the industry’s greed and criticised weak regulators for letting misconduct go unpunished, Hayne will recommend substantial changes across the banking, superannuation and financial services industry.

Abbott said the inquiry had exposed horrific conduct by banks and their staff and that should not go unpunished.

But that didn’t mean the whole system was rotten, the former prime minister said.

“In this era when no one ever takes personal responsibility for anything, when something goes wrong we assume it’s a systemic fault as opposed to an individual’s fault,” he told 2GB’s Ray Hadley today.

“What I don’t want to do is to see the system gummed up by a whole lot of additional regulation rather than see the people who have actually done the wrong thing being appropriately punished.”

He cautioned against a “royal commission-induced credit squeeze”, echoing calls from Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week, who said bank loans were the lubricant of Australia’s economy.

Senate crossbenchers Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch said criminal charges should be laid against those found to have done the wrong thing.

“Somebody has to face criminal charges here because some of the actions were absolutely unconscionable,” Hinch told Seven’s Sunrise program, while Hanson said there should be jail sentences.

Labor is stepping up its campaign to remind people how the Coalition vehemently opposed the royal commission, voting 26 times against an inquiry.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said at the weekend it seemed the government was already back-pedalling on making the banks accountable.


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