O'Sullivan's banking inquiry bill hits bump in the road

Tuesday, 28 November 2017, 09:50:58 AM. The push for a banking commission of inquiry stalls again, with the Greens toughening their position on a bill being prepared by LNP senator Barry O'Sullivan.

Barry O'Sullivan speaks to media Photo: Barry O'Sullivan's push for a parliamentary inquiry aims to counter resistance to a royal commission. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

The push for a banking commission of inquiry has stalled again, with the Greens toughening their position on a bill being prepared by LNP senator Barry O'Sullivan.

Senator O'Sullivan's bill to set up an inquiry into the banking sector appeared to have enough support to pass both houses after two of his colleagues in the House of Representatives said they would support it.

But the Greens have now said they want the bill to be stronger, and they will not support it if it is introduced to the Senate this week in its current form.

The Greens are still negotiating with Senator O'Sullivan to add extra elements to the bill.

The Federal Opposition has been demanding a royal commission into banking.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is continuing to resist those calls saying: "We have made it very clear we are not going to establish a royal commission."

Senator O'Sullivan's push for a parliamentary inquiry is aimed at countering Mr Turnbull's resistance to the push for a royal commission.

A vote in Parliament cannot set up a royal commission but it can set up a commission of inquiry with similar powers.

The timing of Senator O'Sullivan's bill is now unclear.

Pyne warns against disunity among Coalition

The pressure over a banking inquiry has intensified after LNP backbencher Llew O'Brien said he was prepared to cross the floor to support it.

His LNP colleague George Christensen has already said he would cross the floor.

If they both voted for the bill with Labor and the crossbench, it would pass the Lower House.

Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne has warned them against their agitation for an inquiry.

Mr Pyne said the Coalition needed to remain united.

"My message to all my colleagues is that disunity is death," Mr Pyne said.

"If anyone thinks they will do well by creating disunity, they don't do so.

"I've been in parliament for a quarter of a century, I can tell you that when parties are disunited they lose."

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