POLITICS

Scomo To Banks On Likeability: 'We Feel Your Pain'

But he implores them not to pass on budget pain to customers.

10/05/2017 3:16 PM AEST | Updated 10/05/2017 3:16 PM AEST
Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Treasurer Scott Morrison: "Don't do it."

CANBERRA -- One of the biggest barneys out of the 2017 Budget has been the stoush between the Turnbull Government and the big five banks over the impost of a $6.2 billion banking levy to pay for budget repair.

And the fight down in the trenches, in the cold light of the day after the budget, has been over just who exactly will pay for it?

Well according to the banks, the levy on banks owing $100 billion in liabilities is a 'big money grab' and they warn shareholders or customers or both will pay.

Brian Hartzer, Westpac's chief executive said there is no 'magic pudding' to budget repair, while Commonwealth Bank chief, Ian Narev, said "every extra cost needs to be borne by customers or shareholders, or a combination of both."

The response from the Treasurer is "give me a break."

"Don't do it," he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

And he used a bit sympathetic logic to underscore his plea.

"They already don't like you very much," Morrison said. "They don't like us as politicians universally that much either. So we understand your pain."

The Treasurer got a few laughs there, but the banks aren't laughing.

As proved by this picture of Australian Bankers Association chief executive Anna Bligh.

Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Anna Bligh listens as Treasurer Scott Morrison delivers his post-Budget address in the Great Hall at Parliament House

But the Treasurer went on.

"Prove them wrong on this occasion. Prove them wrong. Don't confirm their worst impressions. Tell them another story," he said.

"Tell them you will pony up and help fix the budget."

Labor has signaled it will support the levy, while Morrison confirmed at the National Press Club address that it will be permanent.

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