In a corker of a piece in Rear Window this morning, the AFR‘s Joe Aston let Treasurer Scott Morrison have both barrels over the reaction to the Australian Bankers’ Association’s appointment of former Queensland premier Anna Bligh to replace Steven Munchenberg as CEO of the bank cartel peak body. His spray included that “on Friday, Scott Morrison’s office abruptly cancelled meetings with big four executives scheduled for the coming fortnight. And the message has been delivered: Morrison’s director of communications and strategy Sasha Grebe won’t meet with Bligh.”

Morrison rushed to deny that this morning in his regular Monday chat with Ray Hadley. “I had no scheduled meetings with the banks,” Morrison averred. But Aston didn’t say Morrison had had meetings, but referred to meetings between Morrison’s office and the banks, which, as you’d expect in a Treasurer’s office, are regular occurrences. And as Aston pointed out, surely the appointment of Bligh should have been great news for Morrison, who could use it to point out that even a senior Labor figure like Bligh was now rejecting the idea of the need to hold a royal commission into the banks — how embarrassing for Labor to have one of its own attacking the case for an inquiry! Instead, we had a hyper-partisan reaction of people who so viscerally hate Labor, the red mist obscures the capacity to spot political opportunities. Maybe it was the same genius who came up with the idea of threatening the NDIS if the Senate didn’t pass the government’s welfare cuts.

Peter Fray

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