27 October 2016
Transcript - #2016066, 2016

Interview with Tom Elliott, 3AW Drive

SUBJECTS: paid parental leave; ASIC; banks; Steve Herbert

TOM ELLIOTT:

Kelly O’Dwyer good afternoon.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Good afternoon Tom.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Did I read two weeks ago that you’re pregnant again?

KELLY O’DWYER:

I am indeed. I’m just over three months and I’m expecting a second child, either a brother or sister to Olivia, in April.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Well congratulations.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Thank you.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Obviously you haven’t learnt your lesson the first time round. I do want to talk to you about this banking report from ASIC but the double dipping on paid parental leave, have I got that right, that the double dipping will be allowed to continue for the best part of another year?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well look, what the Government has said is that we believe it’s really important to have a safety net for people to be able to access paid parental leave so whether it’s the mother taking time off to care for the child, or it might be the father and in many cases increasingly that is the case, that you have access to at least 18 weeks at the minimum wage so that you have that time with your child. But what we do say is that it’s not sustainable to be able to have access not only to that, but also to an employer or a Government paid parental leave scheme.

TOM ELLIOTT:

If you don’t mind me asking, as an MP, do you get a special scheme that applies to you?

KELLY O’DWYER:

No. No we don’t.

TOM ELLIOTT:

But senior public servants do don’t they?

Senior public servants would and they would have reasonably generous arrangements for senior public servants.

TOM ELLIOTT:

I believe a senior public servant can get 14 weeks at full pay and then they can go on another 18 weeks at the minimum wage on top of that.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Indeed, this is exactly to your point, which is that if a parent was earning around about $140,000 annually, they could receive both a combined government and employer PPL amount of more than $44,000, which is more than a parent who is working at minimum wage will even earn in an entire year.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Yeah I agree, I find the whole double dipping thing, if you’re relatively well off, this idea that you would take this extra bit of welfare to me is wrong. In your capacity not as a pregnant mother but as the financial services minister, I read today a press release from ASIC and it looks like the banks together might have to fork out over $200 million, by some reports, to clients who have paid fees but haven’t received a service, is that correct?

KELLY O’DWYER:

That is correct. What’s been revealed today by ASIC’s report, and ASIC is the regulator for banks, is a very serious failure in financial advice with the major banks and also with AMP. They have been charging clients over a number of years for fees when no service was actually being provided.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Are these clients who have their superannuation with the bank and they’re paying one percent per annum of their super to the bank in fees and not getting anything back?

KELLY O’DWYER:

It can be that, it can also be that someone has gone along and they’ve seen a financial adviser and in that very first meeting the financial adviser has had the client sign a fee agreement, which involves a one-off payment for the initial advice and then an ongoing fee for the adviser to monitor that customer’s circumstances going forward. And it could well be that that was never actually delivered, there wasn’t a review each year and in fact that financial adviser might’ve left the bank and passed the file onto someone else who again has never actually actioned it.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Can I tell you something, I’m chairman of a small financial services company and I can tell you it is wide spread in the industry. It’s not just the banks, it occurs all over the place, this idea of signing people up to fees then not necessarily delivering on what you say you’ll deliver.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well it is completely wrong, it is unacceptable, and the banks as a result of this, because of these systemic failures, which have now been addressed through Future Financial Advice Reforms, which were mandatory as of 1 July 2013, because of this it’s going to be very difficult for this to continue to occur. But the banks not only have to pay the money that people pay them in fees, but they’re also going to have to pay an interest bill and as you said, it’s looking like around about $178 million plus interest.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Yes so that will take it well over $200 million. Finally, you’ve no doubt heard the revelation today that State Government minister Steve Herbert used his Parliamentary car and driver to transport his pet dogs from his country house to his city house and back again. Are you aware of any federal politicians who move their pets around in this manner?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Absolutely not, and I shouldn’t laugh because is actually not a laughing matter. I think most people on reading the paper today were pretty shocked and horrified that someone would actually think that this is in line with community standards. No, I’m not aware of it, and if there was a federal MP doing that, frankly they should be sacked.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Kelly O’Dwyer, thank you for your time.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Thanks very much Tom.