Australia

'I'm sorry': Kelly O'Dwyer's stunning backflip on banking royal commission

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Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer has admitted the Turnbull government was wrong not to call the banking inquiry sooner.

Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer has delivered a mea culpa and flipped her position on the Turnbull government's reluctance to establish the banking royal commission.

Ms O'Dwyer, who last weekend defended the delay, now admits the government got the timing wrong.

"With the benefit of hindsight we should have called it earlier, I am sorry we didn't, and I regret not saying this when asked earlier this week," the minister told a self-managed super fund conference in Melbourne on Friday.

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"The government did get the timing wrong. What we did get right though, was embarking on an urgent and comprehensive reform program to fix the problems that we knew about."

Ms O'Dwyer says the commission had already highlighted "in the most profound way" some of the devastating personal consequences to have resulted from corporate misconduct.

Her total focus as minister was on fixing problems within the financial services sector.

"We should also recognise that the banks and other financial institutions have a duty to repair trust and to compensate those people who have been damaged by their actions," Ms O'Dwyer said. "Their boards should act now."

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