Commonwealth

If you didn't think Australia's major banks were bad enough, watching the Commonwealth Bank's CEO Matt Comyn and chair Catherine Livingstone this week chuck their predecessors under a bus -- one driven by Kenneth Hayne and Rowena Orr SC -- should be enough to confirm every insult hurled at the big banks for a generation. Expect the CEOs of the other big banks to do the same when it's their turn to front up to the royal commission over the rest of this week and next.

The big bank boards are supposedly the cream of the Australian business community, the elite of the elite, chockful of (usually) old white men with long CVs and an enthusiasm for lecturing the rest of us about how the economy should be run. And now their own successors are detailing what remarkable failures they were at even simple stuff like a proper orientation pack for new directors, let alone interrogating management about, say, multiple reports from AUSTRAC about failures of anti-laundering mechanisms. And remember, that was the Commonwealth Bank -- the one-time people's bank privatised by Paul Keating in the 1990s. Along with Qantas, it's the biggest, brightest example of neoliberal economics in the Australian polity.