Labor, Coalition Remain Confident of RBA Chief Glenn Stevens

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By Erik Pineda | September 18, 2012 12:55 PM EST

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens remains in the good grace of key Labor and Coalition figures despite swirling allegations that he was a direct party in the attempted cover-up of reported corruption that plagued the central bank subsidiaries in 2009.

As far as Liberal MP Greg Hunt is concerned, RBA officials are handling with finesse the corruption and bribery scandals that dragged down the names of key executives from Securency and Note Printing Australia (NPA), both of which operate under the direct supervision of the bank.

However, Mr Hunt observed too that absolute openness on the part of Mr Stevens, who is set to testify before a joint parliamentary committee probe on the matter, and other RBA officials will definitely redound for Australia's interest.

He expects no less from the RBA chief and his colleagues, the senior Liberal member said, adding that his party's confidence on the institution has not been diminished at all.

"I have the absolute highest regard for Glenn Stevens and the senior executive at the RBA," Mr Hunt was reported by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying on Tuesday.

This despite reports by Fairfax that suggest the RBA was fully aware of wrongdoings that were committed by Securency and NPA officials prior to the entry of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), which conducted investigation on the matter that led to charges being filed against executives of the two RBA subsidiaries.

The media firm also cited evidences that Mr Stevens was not telling the truth when he informed Parliament that the RBA only got wind of the scandal when news stories on the matter broke out in 2009.

Former RBA Deputy Governor Ric Battellino was also implicated, with scandal whistleblower Brian Hood claiming in Fairfax reports that Mr Battellino advised him to refrain from further discussing the bribery and corruption cases.

Prior to that, Mr Hood informed AFP investigators that his departure from NPA could be directly linked with his testimonies that uncloaked the RBA scandal.

"My career has been damaged in the process ... I am of the view that the RBA/NPA treatment of me was harsh," Mr Hood was quoted by Fairfax as saying in an email that was sent to AFP probers.

But Trade Minister Craig Emerson is fully convinced that Mr Stevens has addressed all the concerns that were raised during the past parliamentary inquiry, adding that "Glenn Stevens' attitude towards," the problem is to reveal what the public deserves to know.

In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, the Gillard Government, Mr Emerson stressed, remains wholly supportive of the incumbent RBA executives, Mr Stevens including.

His office, he added, is fully cooperative of the probe being conducted by the AFP.

"We're happy wherever we can to shine a light on any suggestion of any impropriety by anyone within the public service or more broadly," Mr Emerson told Sky News.

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