17 March 2021

Labor Senators, working with the Senate crossbench, have thwarted the Morrison Government’s plans to ram through irresponsible changes to bank lending obligations.

Last night’s vote means Nationals Senators have until May to reconsider their position to expose farmers and rural bank customers in general to predatory lending practises.

Labor urges Nationals Senators to use this time to consider the damage Scott Morrison’s plans would do to rural families.

Scott Morrison’s plan would reverse the very first recommendation of the Banking Royal Commission, namely to keep Responsible Lending Obligations (RLOs) in place as a “critical legislative step” in protecting customers from predatory lending practises.

It was these practises that lead to the distressing stories of banking misconduct revealed in the Royal Commission, with RLOs the only recourse for many customers who were wronged.

Removing RLOs would not only tear down protections for customers but expose the economy to unnecessary risk at a time when housing prices and mortgage lending are experiencing rapid growth.

Dismantling RLOs also works at cross-purposes with financial regulators and community concerns about loosening lending standards in the midst of a debt boom. 

Former Nationals senator John “Wakka” Williams has advised his former Senate colleagues to stop the Liberals plan and keep Responsible Lending Laws in place.

Labor urges Nationals senators to listen to him and keep his legacy alive by voting to protect rural families and the economy from Scott Morrison’s reckless plans.