Minister Fletcher’s announcement of a review into financial counselling will be little comfort for consumers facing financial stress. Labor agrees that the financial counselling sector deserves predictability and stability in its funding, this announcement is too little too late. Over the last 5 year the Liberals have shown little or no interest in the challenges facing consumers or the financial counsellors who support them.
Well, this is a damning report on the industry and an indictment on a culture of greed and I think it aligns with the community's perception about the problems in the sector. But the Commissioner has done his work now and it is up to the politicians and to the Parliament to respond.
I wanted to make a few remarks about the significance of today’s inquiry. More than two years ago, the present Government received a report telling them that there was an urgent need for reform around small amount credit. That pay day loans were out of control, that people were experiencing real hardship. In the years since, we’ve seen the banking royal commission expose just how badly things can go when you’re not watching carefully in the financial services industry. Unfortunately, for years, the Government has refused to act on reforms that were proposed for small amount credit contracts.
Gender pay gap has moved around over time but it remains the case that women are earning, when you take into account total remuneration, $23,000 a year less than men on average. It is actually time for some action and I am enormously proud of the announcement that will be made today. The Labor Party is setting out a series of reforms to the Fair Work Commission that will make it easier for the Commission to make orders in relation to low paid feminised industries.
Despite being the season for love and giving the disastrous rollout of Financial Capability and Wellbeing grants continues to cause chaos for at risk communities.
My analysis for what it's worth would be this. That the real problem for the Liberals at the moment is a total division about who they are and what they stand for. This is a deep ideological division. We see it every day in our Chamber. We see it in the public reporting of comments from people like Kelly O'Dwyer where she's concerned obviously that the Liberals are perceived as a party of homophobes, climate deniers, people who don't understand or promote women.
Overnight David Attenborough has addressed hundreds of delegates at the UN’s conference on climate change in Poland and this is what he had to say: He said “Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change”. And in making those remarks - and they were very powerful remarks - David Attenborough named the challenge and he is on the same page as the tens of thousands of school children who marched on this issue just a few days ago.
Well through the evidence that’s been presented to us it has become very clear that in the current form the bill is not able to be supported. Now that’s not unusual we’ve had plenty of pieces of legislation where people have presented problems to us and we have been able to work through those in a bipartisan way through the committee process. That was so under Mr Abbott when he was Prime Minister and it was so under Mr Turnbull, but under Mr Morrison the approach is very different and whilst we did think we were making progress within the committee it’s just today the Government has indicated they are just not willing to keep working through the process.
Labor is announcing today that we will move to give ASIC new powers to protect consumers by including ‘buy now, pay later’ providers in the scope of new design and distribution obligations and product intervention powers.