Scott Morrison has slapped down Bill Shorten over the Opposition Leader’s push to extend the banking Royal Commission.
The prime minister demanded Mr Shorten “stop playing politics”, and to respect the independence and work of the Commission.
It came as Mr Shorten launched effectively run his own mini-inquiry into the banks, with shadow financial services minister, Clare O’Neil, on a month-long fact finding tour of rural and regional Australia, that he says, haven’t been heard.
Ms O’Neil will conduct a series of round table meetings with victims, and give them, Mr Shorten said, a chance to share their stories and consider options for reforms.
He said the Royal Commission had heard from only 27 customers, despite over 9300 submissions.
And all hearings had been in three capital cities.
“Labor wants victims to have a seat at the table when the Royal Commission considers what reforms are required to clean up this sector,” Mr Shorten said.
“Scott Morrison doesn’t want to give bank victims a voice.
“He has always been, and always will be, on the side of the big banks.”
Mr Shorten says the Commission has “done Australia a favour”, but hasn’t had enough time to hear from a wide enough cross section of customers.
“There are literally thousands of victims who feel frustrated at not being able to explain what happened to them,” Mr Shorten said.
“Ordinary stories have an important role to play.
“The banking sector in Australia has got a lot of explaining to do.”
The opposition has asked the prime minister to extend the Royal Commission, and Scott Morrison has given a guarantee he will, if asked, by Commissioner, Kenneth Hayne.
But the prime minister said the only reason Labor wanted a Royal Commission was “to play politics with it”.
“He’s an independent Commissioner. Let him do his job,” Mr Morrison said.
“What you don’t do is go out there and attack the independence of the Royal Commission.
“Bill Shorten needs to respect the Royal Commission and let it do its job.
“My message to Bill Shorten is stop playing politics.
“To suggest they’ve been ignoring the submissions is offensive and Bill Shorten should apologise.”
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018