Qld MP defied pressure to force banking inquiry

THE Queensland federal MP who helped force the royal commission into the banks has revealed then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull questioned why a first-termer would defy him or government policy.

Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien exclusively told The Courier-Mail of the significant pressure he faced from colleagues after he signalled he would support a royal commission.

Wide Bay Llew O'Brien MP stuck to his guns over his view that a royal commission into the banks was imperative. Picture: Glenn Hunt
Wide Bay Llew O'Brien MP stuck to his guns over his view that a royal commission into the banks was imperative. Picture: Glenn Hunt

The former traffic cop, and another former cop-turned-politician, Queensland Senator Barry O'Sullivan, both believed it was time for a blowtorch on lenders after repeatedly hearing horror stories from their constituents.

But privately and publicly, Mr Turnbull warned Mr O'Brien that a royal commission could have serious implications on the banking sector.

Because the parliamentary numbers in the House of Representatives were tight, the Government could have lost a vote on the floor if the matter was brought on.

Mr O'Brien said that in late November 2017, he returned a missed call from Mr Turnbull and a "tense" conversation started.

Mr O'Brien signalled he would not change his mind, especially after holding talks with Queensland MP for Dawson George Christensen and Nationals NSW Senator John Williams.

The next day, Mr O'Brien said they agreed he would meet with then treasurer Scott Morrison and then financial services minister Kelly O'Dwyer.

They again tried to convince him of the dangers but found out how "stubborn" the first-term MP was.

It can also be revealed close Turnbull confidante and Nationals minister Darren Chester also tried to get Mr O'Brien to back down.

On November 29, 2017, Mr O'Brien publicly said he would support a royal commission.

The next day, Mr Turnbull held a Cabinet meeting, and announced the Government would establish the inquiry.



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