The banking sector has been told it "must change forever" for forcing the Australian community to pay an immense financial and emotional price over many years.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised action on all 76 recommendations coming out of the banking royal commission’s final report, which was released on Monday.
It found shocking evidence of misconduct and greed in the Australian financial sector, at the expense of customers and businesses.
“From today the banking sector must change and change forever,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
“The price paid by our community for this misconduct is immense, and goes beyond just the financial.
“There have been broken businesses and the emotional stress and personal pain has broken lives.”
The regulators, who copped criticism for being too weak on financial institutions, will be given more resources and stronger powers.
“If nothing else, the public is entitled to expect that the law is applied and enforced,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor would support all 76 recommendations in principle, in what he called a “sobering report”.
“Banks and financial institutions should work on an ethical basis … they should be above all, ethical,” Mr Bowen told reporters in Melbourne.
He warned the government against weakening its response to the report, and said Labor was ready to change the laws immediately where recommendations had bipartisan support.
“The Liberals have shown they cannot be trusted to clean up the banks,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said in a statement.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott said the inquiry had exposed horrific conduct by banks and their staff and that should not go unpunished, But that didn’t mean the whole system was rotten, he added.
Influential Senate crossbenchers Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch said criminal charges should be laid against those found to have done the wrong thing.
“Somebody has to face criminal charges here because some of the actions were absolutely unconscionable,” Senator Hinch told Seven’s Sunrise program, while Senator Hanson said there should be jail sentences.