David Stuart

Labor pushes for new inquiry into Commonwealth Bank

ANOTHER parliamentary inquiry into fraud and forgery allegations inside the Commonwealth Bank and the Abbott government's financial advice law reforms could soon begin.

After Finance Minister Mathias Cormann last week rebuffed a Senate call for a royal commission, Labor has pledged it will try to get up a new inquiry.

That call, backed by Coalition Senators including Senator John Williams, was made because more powers were needed to bring to light the full extent of any alleged wrongdoing.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said on Wednesday he was "not convinced we have got to the bottom of what happened here", or that the bank was "doing all it can to support its victims".

He said the new inquiry would look at what happened at the bank, the performance of the companies' regulators and the government's financial advice reforms.

"The Opposition is extremely concerned that the Abbott government, despite this overwhelming wall of evidence, are still trying to water down laws to protect consumers," he said.

While the government appears unlikely to order a formal judicial inquiry into the problems in the bank's financial planning units, Senator Cormann said such issues would be looked at in the government's financial sector white paper.

But Mr Shorten said that process would be unable to properly investigate the allegations at the bank and performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, as it was outside its remit.

Instead, he said he was hoping Labor Senators would be able to get cross-party support for another parliamentary inquiry into the issue, and examine financial advice reforms.

"We'll have to see what other Senators wish to do but there is widespread concern I believe not just in Labor, not just in other Senators but I suspect in parts of the Liberal Party too, who know that there is no case being made except to help the big banks to water down protections for consumers," he said.

While some crossbenchers may support a further inquiry, several are waiting on the detail of the terms of reference for the inquiry before they make a final decision.

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