Australia

Hurdles for Labor's big talk on banks

Labor is still talking to crossbenchers about making federal parliament sit for an extra two weeks. (AAP)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Labor's push to get banking laws through before the May election is reckless.

Labor's push for new laws to jail shonky bankers is reckless and risks creating more problems, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

In the wake of the damning banking royal commission, the Labor Party wants to significantly increase penalties against financial institutions who break the law.

The opposition wants to schedule an extra two sitting weeks of parliament to get the laws through before the May election but Mr Morrison warned against it.

"Bill Shorten has a very reckless opportunistic approach to these serious matters," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"He says we should recklessly prepare legislation in response to 40 recommendations without having the opportunity to consider unintended consequences."

Labor will on Wednesday introduce amendments to overhaul existing laws, lifting jail time for corporate crimes from 10 to 15 years and more than doubling the proposed cap on financial penalties to $525 million.

"Today Labor will fight for more jail time and increased penalties for banks and bankers who do the wrong thing," Mr Shorten said.

"Only Labor will clean up the banks. We fought for this royal commission and we will finish the job."

But Labor's efforts to get the extra sitting weeks look set to fail because of independent Queensland MP Bob Katter.

He has declared he does not want parliament extended, despite supporting the idea just one day earlier.

Instead, he is calling for immediate legislative and regulatory changes.

"I don't want any more looking into it or further inquiries or extending parliament, I just want it to happen," Mr Katter told The Australian.

The opposition must win over all seven crossbenchers to achieve the 76 votes it needs in the House of Representatives to add the extra sitting days in March.

Labor and the crossbench joined forces on Tuesday to pass new laws making it easier for asylum seekers to receive medical treatment, despite the government's opposition.

The opposition's chief tactician, Tony Burke, remains hopeful of mustering the necessary votes to extend parliament.

"If we already had 76 votes, I would have already moved it. So we're continuing the discussions," he told reporters.

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