Labor to push for new CBA probe

Perceived federal government tardiness in responding to a recent Senate committee recommendation for a high-powered inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s investment arm, and the financial regulator ASIC, has prompted a counter-move from the opposition.
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It will now push for a new dedicated Senate inquiry instead, in a move that could see Commonwealth Bank managers once again dragged before the Parliament to explain apparent inaction.

Fairfax Media has learnt the opposition believes it has the support of sufficient crossbenchers in the Senate to commence the new probe into Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited.

But the inquiry would also look specifically at the failure of Commonwealth Bank management to root out corrupt planners, and its refusal to more aggressively respond to the detection of fraud that caused thousands of investors to lose their life savings.

Labor leader Bill Shorten will announce the new inquiry in Sydney on Wednesday claiming the government was sitting on its hands.

”This is a scandal of shocking proportions. It’s shone a light on some incredibly poor practices that simply should never be allowed to occur again,” he said. ”It absolutely beggars belief that the government is watering down consumer protections in financial advice, particularly in light of this disgraceful episode.”

Mr Shorten slammed the government saying its plans to modify the Future of Financial Advice laws regarding investment advice would allow the Commonwealth Bank situation to reoccur.

Mr Shorten described the Commonwealth Bank’s own process for redressing some of the losses as ”a good first step”, but claimed it but fell ”well short” of adequate.

The new inquiry would issue an interim report by September 1, 2014.

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