Federal Labor is outraged that regular Parliamentary scrutiny of the four major banks has been shelved as a result of the COVID-19.
The bosses of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac were due to face the House of Representatives economics committee on June 12 and 26 as part of a twice-yearly interrogation that has been in place since before the banking royal commission.
But the June hearings have been cancelled by the Liberal-led committee, despite objections of Labor.
Liberal MP Tim Wilson who chairs the committee said it remains important that the banks are held publicly accountable.
“However, the banks are fully occupied in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Wilson said in a statement.
“Therefore, it is prudent to defer the hearings until the situation improves.
This comes just days after the Morrison government cancelled future federal parliamentary sittings until August, a decision that was also rejected by the opposition.
“At a time when the banking sector is receiving unprecedented government support, it’s only reasonable that the major banks should give evidence for an hour or two to the House Economics Committee,” Labor’s deputy chair of the committee Andrew Leigh told AAP.
“When billions of taxpayer dollars are involved, it’s only sensible to have proper parliamentary oversight.”
He said the bank CEO’s wouldn’t even have to leave their offices when teleconferences are becoming the norm in the present environment.
The recently formed national cabinet made up of federal, state and territory leaders to deal with the COVID-19 crisis regularly link-up by teleconferencing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was also part of a global teleconference with G20 leaders this week.