On August 19th, 2016, I came across an article on the ABC news website, saying that the Australian government was considering setting up a banking tribunal. The tribunal would be established to address complaints from victims of unfair retail banking practices. The report quoted the Primer Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as the person who was making the proposal for the establishment of the tribunal. And all this is against a background where the Labor Party in Australia has been pushing for the establishment of a Royal Commission to address the issues raised by the victims of unfair retail banking practices.
As would be expected, opinion is divided right down the middle: with some folks supporting the banking tribunal option, even as others support the setting up of a Royal Commission of inquiry.
On my part, I belong to the school of thought that supports the banking tribunal option. This is because — and I hope that I am not mistaken in this — the banking tribunal will be something that will be operational for posterity. On the other hand, the Royal Commission of enquiry is supposed to be a one-off affair. Thus, I support the establishment of the tribunal, which would always be in existence, and where a person who is aggrieved by a bank can always go for redress: especially if the issue they have is one that they are unable (or reluctant) to address through the courts.
Just for the record, I am consistently in support of sustainable solutions: even my previous article on the issue of penalizing polluters stiffly attests to that fact. So my support for the banking tribunal shouldn’t be construed as being an ‘afterthought’.
The proposed tribunal should, in my view, operate along the same lines as the various HR websites that various companies operate nowadays. Take a company like UPS, whose such portal is to be found at www.upsers.com. Through that site, even the lowliest UPS workers – even the ones who sweep the UPS package tracking office and the ones who pick the mail from the post office get a chance to engage with the UPS HR management people directly. That, in my view, is also the manner in which the banking tribunal should work. This way, folks who have small quarrels with the banks – the sorts of quarrels that don’t warrant the filing of court cases – can get redress through the tribunal. Surely, it makes quite a bit of sense, doesn’t it?