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Federal

Jul 15, 2014

Essential: voters want royal commission into CommBank con

The vast majority of voters want an investigation into just what went so wrong with the Commonwealth Bank's financial planning arm. But they still have a lot of trust in financial planners.

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Nearly half of Australians have little or no trust in financial planners and nearly three-quarters want a royal commission into the Commonwealth Bank’s scandalous treatment of financial planning clients, which cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

That’s the verdict via today’s Essential Report as the government works to seal a deal with Senate crossbenchers to sneak the repeal of Future of Financial Advice consumer protections through the Senate. Some 73% of voters agree with the need for a royal commission, while just 11% oppose one. Support for a royal commission is especially strong among people who received financial advice — 80% back a royal commission.

However, those who have used financial planners are more likely to trust them: 63% of people who have used financial planners (29% of all respondents) had some or a lot of trust in them, while 35% said they little or none. But overall, 49% of Australians said they had little or no trust in the capacity of planners to provide independent and appropriate advice, compared to 37% who had some or a lot.

Older, wealthier voters had, unsurprisingly, used financial planners significantly more than other voters, which fed through into trust: Liberal voters were less likely to say they didn’t know on trust (10% compared to 15% generally); Liberal voters had higher levels of trust (41%) than other voters but also the second-highest level of distrust (50%, compared to Greens voters at 51%).

Of those who who had received advice, 65% said they had received good advice and just 10% bad advice, although 25% characterised it as neither good nor bad.

And as climate denialists within the government push to undermine the Renewable Energy Target, nearly two-thirds of voters support its current level or want it pushed higher. Just 13% of voter believe the current 20% RET is “too high” while 29% believe it is “too low” and 36% say it is “about right”, similar to the results from the same question in February. Even 42% of Liberal voters believe it is about right, and 18% of Liberal voters want to see it higher; 64% of Greens voters think it’s too low.

Voters, however, gave a tick to Tony Abbott’s efforts to improve defence ties with Japan, with 52% of voters approving and just 18% disapproving. Sixty-two per cent of Australians regarded our relationships with China and Japan as equally important; 5% believe Japan is more important; 15% believe China is more important.

On voting intention, the Coalition’s woes continue: the government has lost a point (38%) while Labor is steady on 40% and the Greens on 9%; the Palmer United Party is on 6%. The two-party preferred result remains 53%-47% in Labor’s favour.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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