Half the people in the room raised their hand when asked if they’d experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after becoming victims of bank misconduct.

Katter’s Australian Party senator Fraser Anning had put out the call for farmers and victims to speak at an event in Canberra on Tuesday, where they were able to share their stories.

“It was incredibly frustrating over nine years, and depressing, that there is no redress out there,” said Craig Caulfield from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The lack of resolution to his drawn-out issues with the Commonwealth Bank led to two points where Mr Caulfield contemplated taking his life.

“I think the mental health consequence is one area to be investigated,” he said.

Senator Anning has called for an extended time frame and greater powers for the banking royal commission.

More than 20 farmers and victims shared their stories at the event, with organisers noting it was many more than those heard at the royal commission.

Senator Anning said people “in dire straits” had spent time and money to make their case in Canberra.

“It just shows the depth of the problem when we see this many people here,” he said.

“They’re scratching the surface – to me and all of us it looks pretty much like a whitewash to appease the masses,” he said of the royal commission.

The Senate agreed to Senator Anning’s motion on Tuesday calling on the government to extend the commission’s time frame and powers.

Liberal frontbencher James McGrath said the government would consider any request from royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne for an extension.

“The royal commission is independent of government. The specific matters that the commission decides to examine will be the commission’s alone,” Senator McGrath told parliament.

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