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Barnaby Joyce says he was wrong to oppose a banking royal commission

Photo: While Barnaby Joyce was deputy PM, the Government repeatedly refused a royal commission. (ABC News: Jed Cooper) Photo: While Barnaby Joyce was deputy PM, the Government repeatedly refused a royal commission. (ABC News: Jed Cooper)

Barnaby Joyce says he was wrong to argue against a banking royal commission because what has emerged is "beyond disturbing". The former Nationals leader is now a backbencher, but he was deputy prime minister when the Federal Government repeatedly refused to call a royal commission.

Some in his own party had been strongly advocating for a royal commission, including Nationals senators John Williams and Barry O'Sulllivan, as well as backbencher George Christensen.

The Federal Government eventually called a royal commission at the end of last year.

Disturbing evidence has emerged since hearings began including that the Commonwealth Bank charged customers for products they never received.

AMP also told the commission it had lost count of the number of times it misled the corporate regulator ASIC about charging fees for no service.

Mr Joyce responded to the latest revelations on Twitter, declaring he was wrong in the past to have argued against a royal commission.

"My previous position of not wanting a royal commission was wrong. So I was wrong," Mr Joyce told RN Drive.

"The thing that concerns me is not when they give a case of a rogue employee, or a rogue agency did something roguish, or basically illegal, or immoral.

"It's when it says that there's a culture of the whole institutions — that's what really concerns me, because that goes right to the core of the apple, that one."

Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said "very disturbing revelations" had emerged from the royal commission.

"We as the Government are very disturbed by a number of the revelations that have been revealed recently at the royal commission," Ms O'Dwyer told the ABC's AM program.

Ms O'Dwyer said the Government had done the right thing by giving the royal commission broad terms of reference.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has also described the revelations from the royal commission as deeply disturbing.

But Labor leader Bill Shorten is demanding the Prime Minister apologise for blocking a formal inquiry so many times.

"The royal commission is only months old, but it is already clear that the Prime Minister owes Australians an apology," Mr Shorten said.

"[It] is discovering criminal activity. But if the Prime Minister had his way, there would be no royal commission, and none of this activity would have been discovered or exposed."

Royal commission might run longer

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Government would agree to extend the royal commission if asked.

The inquiry is due to run for 12 months and deliver a final report by February next year.

Senator Cormann said the Government believed that was the appropriate time.

But he told radio 2GB if the royal commissioner were to ask the Government for more time "then you can safely assume the Government would accept that request".

This article was first published by http://www.abc.net.au/news/
Author: political correspondent Louise Yaxley
Last modified onThursday, 19 April 2018 23:19

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