Yesterday, it became clear that Crikey readers are going to take some convincing that Malcolm Turnbull is currently in any position of strength, as Bernard Keane speculated. Elsewhere, on the subject of the super fund murkiness being exposed by the royal commission, we got some insight into how corruption and mismanagement is simply business as usual.

On the Coalition’s hidden recovery.

Arky writes: Parliament is sitting again — the lead will blow out again. This has literally been the pattern of Turnbull’s PMship. The lead ebbs and blows with Parliamentary sittings, because these are the times Turnbull and the Coalition are exposed to the public. The likes of Mark Kenny have been rightly mocked for taking every opportunity to proclaim that this time Turnbull is turning the corner, really, honest, only to be proven wrong (and of course never acknowledging they got it wrong). Maybe give it another fortnight before doing a Kenny.

Marcus Hicks writes: Elections held since 2016-including the recent by-elections-have suggested that Newspoll might be losing its edge in the accuracy department, especially since they changed how preferences are distributed.Even ignoring that, though, how can you call this a Coalition recovery when their primary vote dropped by 2%? This whilst parliament hasn’t even been sitting. The Coalition have nowhere to go but down, as more revelations crop up in relation to Michaelia Cash’s office & the GBRF shenanigans.

On extending the royal commission to save super.

Jeremy Henderson writes: There seems to be some sort of mythology around the egregious behaviour of banks and retail super funds that this is a relatively new phenomenon, that their corrupt and nihilistic culture is something which has developed in this millennium, and which is hard to explain.

As someone who was a director (unpaid) of an industry fund in the ’80s and early ’90s, I saw the extent to which, even then, ordinary Australians’ retirement savings were already being plundered to fund the extravagant habits of those whose duty should have been to those workers, but wasn’t. Retail funds continued to be driven almost entirely by the level of commission paid to their promoters, whose long term future could be assured by the outrageous trailing commissions, of which their clients were rarely aware. Similarly, the investment managers were effectively unhindered in the degree to which they could skim substantial margins from investment vehicles, funding lavish salaries, and massive marketing budgets with which to woo the investment decision-makers.

Such was the culture thirty years ago. All we are seeing now is the natural evolution of such pratices, aided and abetted by the lack of any effective oversight, the co-opting of the so-called regulators, and a deregulatory environment which encouraged greed and self-aggrandisement. So yes, the Royal Commission should not only be extended to delve the depths of the money pit, but it, or something like it with similar powers, should be a permanent feature to keep these custodians of our wealth, and our financial future, under constant surveillance.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey