Banking and financial reforms must put consumers first - ABC News Radio

Today I chatted with ABC News Radio's Marius Benson about the importance of getting banking and financial sector reform right for Australian consumers. Here's the transcript:

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC News Radio

TUESDAY 15 JULY 2014

SUBJECT/S:         Australia’s banking and financial system; changes to Future of Financial Advice laws

MARIUS BENSON: The future of Australia's banking and financial system could become clearer today with the release of a report by former banker David Murray. That system is dominated by the big four banks and there's been criticism that their record profits of recent years have been underwritten by taxpayer-backed guarantees, but the public hasn't benefited from their success. The Murray Report will also look at the financial advice industry as the government moves ahead with its plans for changes to its Future of Financial Advice laws. For a Labor view on changes in the Australian financial world, I’m speaking to the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh.

Andrew Leigh, good morning.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Marius.

BENSON: In broad terms, is Australia's financial system bust? Is there need for significant change?

LEIGH: Well we ought to take pride in certain elements of our system. Our banks performed very well during the Global Financial Crisis at a time when many other countries saw big banks go bust. But I think it is always important to be looking carefully at how we can make improvements to the financial system and so Labor will take a constructive approach to any recommendations that will come out of this interim report. 

BENSON: The big four banks are doing very well. In fact, they're doing better and better and the profits are going up. People do point to the fact that there is - since the global financial crisis – there has been an effective government guarantee. That is the way the international financial world views Australia's big four banks and they get funding at a discount as a result. Do you think that's fair, and is the public benefiting from that circumstance?

LEIGH: Well the tension here is always between making sure that you've got prices being as low as possible, interest rates being as low as possible, but also insuring that you've got stability within the system. No-one benefits from bank collapses and we've seen during the Great Depression, during the Global Financial Crisis, the shock waves that run through a system when an institution fails or even looks like it might fail. So I hope the Murray Inquiry will be making sure that it