“There is an abiding and overarching interest in the Australian people and victims of banking scandals being able to access the report and form their own views, at the earliest opportunity,” Mr Bowen noted.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government looks forward to receiving Commissioner Hayne’s final report by February 1 and “considering its recommendations as we continue to reform the financial sector.”
“The government recognises the potential market sensitivity of the final report and will take this into account in considering the timing of its release,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“If Chris Bowen was serious he would at least wait for Australia Post to deliver his letter before releasing it to the media.
“Then again, one wonders why he is so focussed on the timing of the release of the report given last time we released a major report, with the PC’s [Productivity Commission’s] thousand page study into superannuation, he effectively ruled out one of their key recommendations to reform the default system 15 minutes after it was tabled and clearly before he had even read it.”
If the government chose to defer releasing the report to formulate a response, Mr Bowen argued Labor should be given the same opportunity.
“Given the looming election, there is as much interest and importance in the response of the Opposition to the findings of this Royal Commission as there is of the government’s views,” Mr Bowen said.
“Refusing to release the Royal Commission’s final report immediately would unnecessarily politicise the handling of the report and give rise to potential material market risks around leaks of all or part of the report.”
Mr Bowen referenced a leak to The Australian Financial Review and Sky News on the eve of last May’s budget on a shock new $6 billion tax on the big banks.