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Banking Royal Commission

December 09, 2020

I rise, of course, to support the amendment. I feel very strongly that this government, which was dragged kicking and screaming to the royal commission, is now doing what it does best. They are a world expert government in rorts that damage the little people. They support big business. They support their mates. They do nothing about things such as the absolute disgrace of executive remuneration in this country. Only yesterday we heard from some of the shareholder proxy organisations complaining about the lack of transparency in bonuses given to executives in companies who have stopped paying dividends yet can still manage to give huge bonuses, sometimes measured in millions of dollars, to executives. They support rorts from the big end of town, but when rorts damage the little people they don't care.

The amendment will support and protect the little people from some of the insurance rorts that have been occurring for many years, particularly in the travel industry. We've seen this across a huge range of organisations and a huge range of community organisations, such as superannuation companies and insurance companies. They damage the little people who can't afford to pay.

I have a long memory. I've been involved in running my own superannuation company and been involved in private superannuation companies for many, many years, and I've seen the rorts that have occurred with junk insurance. I had great difficulty in trying to stop this in my own situation. I know that many people have lost thousands and thousands of dollars because of the rorts in insurance. Surely it's time to start protecting the little people? This government never does. They never support those who can least support themselves. They damage people who really struggle to make ends meet. They damage people who might save for years to go on a holiday and yet get ripped off with junk insurance or with vastly overpriced insurance which could be got much cheaper independently.

What happens to that money? It goes to big companies, it goes to pay executive salaries, it goes in shareholder profits, and the little people get damaged. This government can't be trusted to look after the little people. I see it in my own electorate now with industrial action being taken against people who have supported the big company Coles for many years by working hard for them, by providing supply chain support and by doing the hard work that gets groceries on our supermarket shelves, yet they are now being locked out. The little people are being damaged again and this government does nothing.

It is disgraceful that the government can't see the need to support people in this insurance rort that is happening in the travel industry. The member for Whitlam has very rightly explained the importance of trying to protect people when they go to get insurance. Companies understand the psychology of offering add-on products. They know how vulnerable people are at in this stage, yet nothing has been done to protect people. We in Labor want to see only high-value products being provided with exemptions from this value-added industry. We believe this amendment will protect the most vulnerable. If our amendment does pass, it will mean that the Treasurer cannot issue exemptions for these products and people will save often several hundreds of dollars on travel insurance. So I stand to fully support the member for Whitlam and the amendment. I cannot understand why the government won't do so.