You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Nats bank critic unimpressed with review

AAP logoAAP 9/10/2016 Colin Brinsden and Elise Scott

Nationals senator John Williams was unimpressed at how lower house MPs handled the chief executives of the nation's big four banks in last week's banking inquiry.

"I don't think they laid a blow on the banks, to be frank... it was about as exciting as watching paint dry," Senator Williams, who has long called for a royal commission into white-collar crime, told Sky News on Monday.

Rather than being dealt with by the House of Representatives economics committee, the senator believes the banking industry review should have been handled by the Senate's equivalent as it has had more experience examining such issues as dodgy financial advice.

Senator Williams first called for a royal commission seven years ago and says a lot of the issues then have slowly been ticked off, such as those surrounding poor financial planning and whistleblowers, while he has just launched an inquiry into the life insurance industry.

"I'm not saying there is not a need for a royal commission ... I can give you names and how many millions of dollars have disappeared and we can't get answers," he said.

But he does back Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan for a tribunal to deal with complaints by victims of bank misconduct.

"The reason why I support this so much is because the current situation in Australia is if you wish to seek justice, go to court, you need money," he said.

"When you take on a big institution they will have the biggest and the best ... it's David and Goliath, full-stop."

Independent MP Bob Katter has attempted to skirt the need for federal government approval for a banking royal commission, introducing a private bill to set up a banking commission of inquiry with the same powers.

The Greens also support a parliamentary commission of inquiry and will introduce similar legislation into the Senate this week.

Mr Katter is concerned about banks over-lending to customers who can't afford the repayments and then making them "debt slaves" for the rest of their lives.

Labor, the Greens and Mr Katter believe the proposed tribunal is not enough and are not convinced the inquiry delved deep enough into misconduct.

"They admit to doing wrong, but this place has decided that basically they're not going to do anything about it," Mr Katter told parliament.

Former treasurer Wayne Swan believes the boards, not just the CEOs, of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac should have to front a parliamentary committee.

"I would like to see the board members, who over the past few decades have sanctioned so many of these unethical practices that have ripped off Australians, appear in public to justify their actions in a number of these sordid affairs," Mr Swan told reporters.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon