MELBOURNE, April 21 (Reuters) - Proposed tax cuts for
Australian businesses are at risk following explosive evidence
uncovered in an inquiry into the financial services sector,
including revelations that financial advisers knowingly charged
dead clients for up to a decade.
At least two crossbenchers, whose support the conservative
government's aim to cut the business tax rate from 30 percent to
25 percent, have raised concern about the proposed cuts, stating
that a string of highly damaging admissions made during the
Royal Commission was "not going to help the government's case".
Independent lawmaker Tim Storer told Fairfax Media on
Saturday that public support for the proposal could be difficult
to secure, while fellow independent lawmaker Derryn Hinch went
further, labelling banks "crooks". He said that he would only
support the tax cuts if banks were excluded.
On the same day that the government faced a fresh challenged
to its proposal, the heads of Australia's biggest banks and
financial services operators admitted that they were wrong to
resist the Royal Commission inquiry into their operations for so
The heads of major banks ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank of
Australia and Westpac all said the Royal Commission was now
necessary to expose and eliminate a pattern of high and
unnecessary charges to customers, misconduct and instances of
one company, AMP, admitting that it lied to the corporate
regulator at least 20 times.
All banks and financial services business, plus the
government, had long refused to support the creation of the
inquiry, arguing that regulations in place were strong and that
there was no need for it.
"Clearly, I was wrong," ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott
told the Weekend Australian.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull established the Royal
Commission only after several junior members of its coalition
partner, the Nationals Party - which represents rural and
regional areas - threatened to revolt over the issue.
The government plans to resume negotiations for its proposed
tax cuts, worth $35.6 billion, when parliament next sits in May.
The Royal Commission is due to release its interim report in
February 2019. However, there have been calls for the inquiry to
be extended, following the extent of the revelations of
(Reporting by Alana Schetzer)
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