At a doorstop in Queenstown, New Zealand, this weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull displayed hitherto undreamed of agility and innovation by actually gazing into the future. In response to a question about the growing calls for a royal commission into the banking sector, he replied:

“The calls for a royal commission, of course, again I can understand and I empathise with the reason many people want to call for a Royal Commission but the problem with a Royal Commission is that it will not actually result in any action. You would have years and years of a very expensive inquiry and then you’d have a report with some recommendations.

The recommendations would be, essentially, to do the things we’re doing now. We are setting up a one-stop-shop Ombudsman that will be able to promptly and fairly settle disputes between customers, consumer customers particularly and banks. That’s clearly what’s needed.

I have no doubt — if you had a royal commission, it would go on for years – it would make that recommendation. Let’s get on with it now. We are taking action now. We are looking after people now. That’s the big difference.”

Notwithstanding that royal commissions have, from time to time, led to some concrete action, there is no need for a royal commission into banks.  A royal commission would not recommend any action on government subsidies for the major banks, or CEO bonuses, or the role of banks in facilitating tax avoidance. Nope, it would recommend only one thing, and that thing is already happening. So we can dust off our hands folks, banking is sorted. 

Peter Fray

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