We need a Royal commission into banks, say 68% of us

THE Federal Government has dragged the four biggest banks into a cross-examination, but it appears most of us want to see them face a Royal Commission.

Progressive think-tank The Australian Institute released polling results today -- as the banks faces the Economics Committee in Canberra -- showing that 68% of Australians "supported a Royal Commission or similar inquiry" into the banking sector.

Only 16% were opposed.

The same poll found 77% of Australians thought banks should have to pass on interest rate cuts made by the Reserve Bank.

52% felt Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was attempting to protect the banks by refusing to call a Royal Commission.

Bank bosses will today face the House of Representatives Economics Committee.

The hearings are designed to force bank bosses to explain their policies to the public, according to Treasurer Scott Morrison.

As of 1pm on Tuesday, Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev is facing questioning by the committee.

Ahead of their appearances, Mr Morrison announced plans to make it illegal for banks or major investors to try to manipulate financial benchmarks, including the stock exchange, consumer price index or the Reserve Bank's cash rate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor would consider supporting the plan, but targeted the timing of the announcement.

"You know, there is no accident that the government wants to look like it is acting tough," Mr Shorten said.

The hearings were introduced as the Coalition Government faced increasing pressure on the Labor Opposition over its call for a Royal Commission into the banking sector.

The Opposition has long dismissed the inquiry as ineffective.


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