Subjects; Banking Royal Commission; Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission; Record Store Day
GEORGIE GARDNER: Joining me now to discuss that and other issues is Christopher Pyne in Adelaide and Anthony Albanese who joins us from Sydney Airport this morning. Good morning to you both.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Georgie. Nice to be with you.
GARDNER: Lovely to have you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
GARDNER: Now Christopher, obviously deeply disturbing stories of banking misconduct and yet you didn’t think the Royal Commission was necessary. Why did the PM resist this Commission for so long?
PYNE: Well Georgie, we’re seeing a lot of evidence being presented in the Royal Commission which is very disturbing and that’s why the Government is taking action to strengthen ASIC’s powers even more than we already have. We’ve already given ASIC $100 million more money to pursue bad practices and we’re changing the laws to give them the power that they need to be able to pursue bad banking practices.
GARDNER: But why did it take so long, Christopher?
PYNE: Well, because we were acting without the Royal Commission anyway but the Royal Commission is providing more information to the government and the public. But we certainly weren’t waiting for the Royal Commission to take action in the banking sector. Banking is a big part of our economy. And so these stories are going to come out and that’s a good thing that they are. And that’s why the Government was acting well before the Royal Commission. Labor by contrast voted against taxation changes for foreign multinationals. We still got them through but Labor does a lot of arm waving and hand wringing and huffing and puffing but they didn’t actually do anything about it. We are.
GARDNER: But can you understand why this sort of leads people to think that a Liberal Government is in bed with big business? I mean it doesn’t help your case for getting corporate tax cuts through the Senate, does it?
PYNE: Well, I don’t think anybody thinks that the Liberals and the National Party support some of the practices that have been exposed in the Royal Commission. I mean, the good thing about Royal Commissions is they give people the opportunity to air some of these issues and for the Royal Commissioner to make recommendations. And we will follow that. We’ll wait for those recommendations before we act hastily. But as I reiterate, we have been taking the necessary action, taking tough action and we’ll continue to do so because we want to stand up for consumers and small businesses. We’re not interested in standing up for bad practices.
GARDNER: Anthony, it is such a protected industry. Are these penalties too little too late?
ALBANESE: They are, and this is a Government that ran a protection racket for the banks and finance sector. They voted against the Royal Commission on more than 20 occasions, even when members of their own backbench were crying out for this Royal Commission they were describing it as a stunt; as reckless; as something that wouldn’t achieve anything; as just populist nonsense, according to Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull and indeed Kelly O’Dwyer. What we see now is vindication of Labor’s strong stance. We took a Royal Commission to the last federal election. We’ve campaigned on it ever since. And what we’re seeing now is the evidence out there for all to see. Good policy comes from the evidence. We haven’t heard yet from many of the victims of these practices. But what we’ve heard is senior executives fessing up to what are extraordinary rip offs of ordinary Australians and their savings.
GARDNER: Yeah, and sadly I think there is plenty more to come. Absolutely appalling stories coming out. Let’s move on. All this week we have been covering the aged care crisis here on The Today Show. You’d both be well aware of the countless cases of abuse; of death; of neglect at nursing homes right around this country. It affects everyone and Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt unveiled of course on this show the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Christopher, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt told us there is no crisis. Do you agree?
PYNE: Well I saw your interview with Ken this week, Georgie and it was an excellent interview and Ken’s doing a fantastic job. I used to be the Minister for Ageing in the Howard Government. I can tell you it’s a very, very tough area of government policy. What we’re trying to do is bring together all the different agencies into one agency to cover both qualification for licenses and then the oversight of those licenses. The vast majority of nursing homes, aged care facilities – and my mother and mother-in-law are both in aged care facilities – are doing a great job and they’re fantastic. But there are occasions of bad practice and that’s unfortunately human nature and that’s why you have to find out as soon as you can about them, crack down, stay on top of them, investigate, turn up without notice and make sure that people are following the standards. If they’re not, you have to close them down and throw the book at them. And that’s what we’ve been doing, that’s what Ken Wyatt will continue to do. Can we stamp out every single instance of somebody being a bully in a nursing home and hurting people? We probably can’t, in the same way as we can’t stop every single bag snatch that happens in Martin Place or in a Parramatta supermarket but we can try and do our very best and that’s what these laws will do.
GARDNER: Alright, it is a disgraceful situation and Anthony these reforms of course are part of the solution. But what else needs to be done? What about enforcing patient-staff ratios for instance?
ALBANESE: That requires funds, Georgie, and what we’ve seen from this Government is cuts. They’re not prepared to pay nurses and aged care assistants the money that they need. They’re not prepared to enforce proper patient-staff ratios to ensure that patients can get the care that they need. Our older Australians have made this country they deserve dignity in their later years and they deserve better than they’re getting from this Government. There is a crisis in aged care and the Government needs to deal with it.
GARDNER: All right, well we’ll be watching you both very closely on that topic because as you are well aware, we have been absolutely inundated with people with horrific stories on that matter from right around the country. So interested to watch you on that. We are out of time sadly. Enjoy your weekend. And we will see you next week.
ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
PYNE: Look forward to it.
ALBANESE: Hey Georgie, it’s Record Store Day tomorrow so go into your local record store and participate. There’s a free ad for no one in particular.
GARDNER: All right. We love spinning records on this on this program. There’s no doubt about it so thank you for the heads up Anthony Albanese.
KARL STEFANOVIC: I wonder what Christopher will be buying.
PYNE: A bit of Dvořák.
STEFANOVIC: A broken record!
GARDNER: Nothing wrong with a bit of Dvořák on a Sunday afternoon.
PYNE: Nothing wrong with Dvořák, exactly.
STEFANOVIC: I prefer a bit of Jimmy Barnes myself, but anyway. It’s good to see you’re still in touch, Chris.
GARDNER: You can love classical music and be in touch!
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Bit of Rachmaninoff early in the morning, eh?
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.