Business

Apr 20, 2018

Morrison too little, too late effort on the royal commission won’t convince

The government's get-tough act on the banks is a hasty and inadequate catch-up and fails to address competition issues.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Scott Morrison and Kelly O'Dwyer must think we're idiots. 

The government's line on the royal commission is that it deserves the credit, because Labor argued for a very narrow inquiry while the Liberals wanted a broad one. Apart from being a lie, that also contradicts the government's argument before the 2016 election -- that Labor's royal commission proposal was so damaging it would harm the Australian financial system, placing the entire economy at risk. The Liberals should at least get their story straight -- either Labor's commission idea was so wide-ranging it could bring Australian capitalism tumbling down, or it was too narrow to get the job done. 

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54 comments

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54 thoughts on “Morrison too little, too late effort on the royal commission won’t convince

  1. The Curmudgeon

    In my more enlightened moments, I have thought that prison should only be for the violent offender and that those guilty of other crimes should receive others sorts of punishment, Not any more: these revelations have disabused me of that forever. Like Bernard, I want these a-holes doing the perp walk and locked away for a long time, to enjoy the exciting new social opportunities of prison life.
    And, surely now, any Coalition crap about the lawlessness of unions wouldn’t even qualify as satire.

    1. Zarathrusta

      The long term financial harm caused by white collar crimes can lead to death just as certainly as a violent attack, it’s just less obvious who will be broken by the pressure and take their own life or be so worried they don’t pay attention on the road. In WW2 more people were killed by starvation than bombs, so yes jail is perfectly warranted.

  2. swimming the Hellespont

    Of course they take us for idiots. Precisely how stupid they really think we are will be writ large when they start the process of justifying why the banks and their associated spivs will still be ‘entitled’ to their share of the company tax cuts.

  3. Marcus Hicks

    As Sally McManus has eloquently said “when can we expect to see the AFP raiding the Offices of the Big 4 banks?”

    The fact is that the Libs were desperately trying to protect some of their biggest donors (anyone remember this debacle? https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/fundraiser-for-assistant-treasurer-kelly-odwyer-to-be-sponsored-by-nab-amid-banking-firestorm-20160415-go7c4y.html) & were only forced to act when (a) the banks gave them permission & (b) when they were facing the very real & embarrassing possibility of losing control of the House of Reps.

    As such, I fully expect absolutely nothing to come of this RC, & suspect they will try & sweep it all under the rug as quickly as possible!

  4. potatoes

    Could Crikey have a look at the proceedings that it has run over the years against directors of large collapsed corporates for breach of director’s duties? It seems to me that either ASICare not competant at it or the test for breach of those duties needs to made easier to pass.

  5. 3 Policy Options

    Only a matter of time before we start talking about a real financial sector ombudsman. By that I mean one not beholding to the banks like the current FIO.

  6. zut alors

    Here’s an election policy for Shorten:

    fines of 50% of profits (no cap) for banks & financial institutions in breach of corporation laws. It won’t guarantee executives won’t ever rort again but it will minimise the chances. And gaol sentences (not the suspended variety) for CEOs & board members. Watch them scramble. Customers/voters would lap it up.

    Initially it would prove a nice little earner for our Treasury.

    1. unimpressed

      As long as that was gross profits I’d be more than happy.

    2. Dog's Breakfast

      I’m all for it Zut, and you even spelt gaol correctly. I’d given up and gone over to the americanised version. I’ll swap back again.

      1. AR

        Indeed but gaol is too good for them, the goal should be at least divesting them of their ill gotten riches and the 1300 number for Centrelink – imagine their turning up with previous payslips.
        Still, lamp posts have a strong attraction.

    3. Josephus

      Zut we should send your suggestions to any sitting or aspiring Labor MP in our vicinity.

  7. Rais

    “Scott Morrison and Kelly O’Dwyer must think we’re idiots.” They have proof. We elected them.

    1. Mr Denmore

      Careful with the ‘we’, Rais. And it was by the tiniest of margins.

      1. AR

        I am firmly of the “who you mean ‘we’, Paleface?” faction but the fact remains that on so many major issues, education, health, environment, concentration camps, colour bar, master/servant relationship, gender roles, industrial relations ad nauseam, about 70% of the turnout goes to T1 & T2, 10% Green, 10% Other and the very important 10% other Other – 5% no show & 5% spoiled ballot.

      2. Rais

        “We” as a nation and as a polity Mr D. As in “We invaded Vietnam.” I certainly didn’t although my number could have come up to be sent there. So “We” elected them although nearly half of our voters didn’t want them.

  8. Smit

    Surely Morrison was advised by the ex-bankers in the LNP about a Royal Commission and on ASIC funding. Ignorance is implausible.

  9. zut alors

    Here’s the magnificent Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Democrat, Massachusetts) confronting John Stumpf CEO of the world’s largest bank, Wells Fargo, in Sept 2016. She has him sweating the most at the 4.20 minute mark….three weeks later Stumpf resigned.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOBmn0xU7wY

    1. Wayne Cusick

      Did anybody in the Wells Fargo fiasco go to gaol?

      After all, one of their scams was to open up multiple bank accounts for their customers, without their knowledge, and charge a bank fee on those accounts. That surely is theft, very much a criminal offence. As is money laundering.

      1. zut alors

        No gaol sentences. However Stumpf was forced to repay US$41M of his salary remuneration.But Warren alleged he’d made in excess of US$200M through the inflated share price of Wells Fargo.

        Stumpf’s successor was Tim Sloan who had been CFO at the bank during the scam. Keeping it in the family. In 2017 Wells Fargo rewarded him with a 36% increase in salary for his efforts.

        Due to the car insurance rort under Stumpf & Sloan the bank has had to repay customers US$80M (small change on their books).

      2. Bobby

        Well at least one Wells Fargo executive got partially sucked out of a plane window recently. So there’s always karma.

    2. The Curmudgeon

      Due to the banks donating to both parties and MPs being restricted to mouthing “talking points” provided by the leaders’ offices, we could never have an Elizabeth Warren.

      1. Rais

        We could never have an Elizabeth Warren? Have you ever watched Penny Wong questioning a hapless departmental head?

        1. The Curmudgeon

          This is about exposing financial criminals, not questioning bureaucrats. And, Labor is restrained from a full-on attack on these crims because it is a beneficiary of donations from banks. I have a hunch that Wall Street doesn’t donate to Senator Warren, but if a Labor front-bencher comes out and goes the “full Warren” (not just the flawed “few rotten apples” line), I will be the first to applaud.

          1. AR

            Please don’t hold your breath waiting.

        2. CML

          Yes Rais…I have watched Penny Wong in this setting…outstanding!
          Which is why I become catastrophically angry when I hear/read/watch people saying things like ‘politicians are all the same’.
          THEY ARE NOT!!
          The Labor Party has been advocating for a RC into the banks for well over two years…in fact, they were part of the reason we have one now. This putrid government was dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ into appointing just such a forum…and now they want to take all the credit for it…BULL+HIT of the highest order!!!!!

          1. The Curmudgeon

            No, AR, I won’t hold my breath waiting, nor will I hold it waiting for the party to announce that it will no longer accept donations from banks.

          2. Josephus

            Adding that the RC was actually first proposed by the Greens.

  10. leon knight

    Well fair’s fair Bernard, we certainly think they are idiots….

    1. AR

      As noted above in reverse, the estimation is validated.
      The great misunderstood ‘Lucky Country’ is on show daily, a first class country run by 3rd rate people.
      And yet, as the old kommintern agitcartoon said, “and yet you vote for us!”
      Perhaps we’ve hit peak Brecht, the government, having lost confidence in the people, having decided to elect new ones.”?

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