How should Government respond to a Royal Commission?

AFA News 02 March 2021. In the Debate on the Hayne Royal Commission Response No. 2 Bill 2020 (on Annual Renewal) in the Senate on Thursday 25 February 2021, there was one speech that stood out from the rest.  Whilst other speakers were talking about unrelated matters such as responsible lending, home ownership, wage growth and the Government voting against a Banking Royal Commission 26 times, Senator Slade Brockman (Lib WA), was making some very important points about how Governments should respond to a Royal Commission and how Parliament should consider the consequences.

Senator Brockman, who in the past was Chief of Staff to Senator Mathias Cormann and has a very good understanding of financial advice, made some key points:

  • “A royal commission report is a report to the government, not of the government. Royal commissioners and royal commissions do not have a font of pure wisdom. They do not necessarily provide recommendations that always reflect the full breadth of knowledge and information that governments need to take into account.”
  • “I think we need to look very carefully at royal commissioners’ recommendations, but then we have to do what is in the best interests of Australia.”
  • “I fear that the suite of changes that has been made over the past decade has created an environment where the cost of advice will increase and some Australians will not be able to afford high-quality financial advice.”
  • “In an environment where you have best-interest obligations and where you have an end to trailing commissions, perhaps something we could look at in future is whether the yearly opt-in is the right time frame. To me, one year is not a magical number. Perhaps two years is a more regulatory-friendly period to look at in the future. As a chamber, as a parliament, I would like us to keep thinking about these things.”

It is very refreshing to hear these comments being made in a Senate debate, and it does highlight the increasing awareness of the impact of regulatory reform on the cost of financial advice.  It is also the first apparent public pushback on the overwhelming blind pursuit of the implementation of everything that Commissioner Hayne recommended.  We should thank Senator Brockman for his careful consideration of this matter and his wise thought leading contribution to the debate.

Please click here to see a video of the speech by Senator Brockman.

Please click here for a copy of the Hansard for all speeches as part of the Senate debate on the Hayne Royal Commission Response No. 2 Bill 2020.

Please click here for a copy of the speech by Minister Hume, where she has predominantly set out the objectives of the Bill and the final administrative steps leading up to the passing of the Bill.

For any feedback on this debate or the Annual Renewal Bill, please contact

Issued 02.03.2021. AFA Policy & Education Update