ASIC James shipton banking royal commission
ASIC chairman James Shipton (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Crikey readers have been waiting a long time for the banking royal commission, and they’re not going to let it pass by without getting a few words in. Readers reacted to the open question of the ASIC: what will fix it, if it can be fixed. Then there was the saga of venerated public servant turned besieged NAB executive Ken Henry. Elsewhere, we received some insight into the real, lasting damage of vigilantism and the media outbursts responsible for it

On the question of ASIC

John Nightingale writes: Get rid of it. That’s the short answer. But the longer answer is that until the finance sector has its conflicts of interest dealt with cleanly, nothing much will change. Unless banks are restricted to being banks, insurance companies to insurance, super businesses to super, the incentives will be for the integrated entities to rip us off royally.

Michelle Robertson writes: To set up ASIC to be more effective, perhaps poach some of the excellent leadership folk at the ACCC — I would start with Delia Rickard. Then add a smattering from the AFP money laundering team, who are very good with figures and quite scary. To know how to succeed in court, find a few people with a track record of prosecuting white collar crime from both the state police forces and DPPs. I would also love to see the ASIC team hire whistleblowers and banking and insurance people who are fed up with their organisation’s culture. They will understand internal process, which will be essential to ask the right questions and pinpoint documents to assemble evidence.

Barry Welsh writes: No legislator wants to weaken our banks, so ASIC and APRA will remain nobbled in future as in the past. They are so ineffective they serve only as scarecrows. Taxpayers and customers have paid dearly to make the “four pillars” strong. Fees have been stacked on top of lush interest margins. Bank profits were wasted on acquisitions, first broker insurance and super companies, then foreign banks. The Aussie four pillars, all huge by world standard, were never too big to fail, but they have proven too big to unravel.

On the woes of Ken Henry

Laurie Patton writes: Perhaps the NAB experience will focus attention on the downside to appointing trophy directors? Where in his very distinguished public sector career did Ken Henry acquire the skills required to run a private enterprise organisation, or the governance experience to chair an ASX listed corporation?

On the media’s impact on vigilantism.

Samuel Malual writes: The Australian media is awash with racist sentiments, attitude, bigotry and blatant in-your-face, can’t-do-nothing-about-it racism. I know this because I have lived experience.

In 2007 my best friend was bashed to death by two European males. He was of African (South Sudanese) appearance and so am I. Prior to this, there was a lot of racist reporting and it wasn’t too long after the Cronulla riots, so white nationalism was very much still alive. There were comments and dog whistling from top government figures such as Kevin Andrews about how this group of people do not fit in our society and should be deported back or stop the migration.

My friend’s name is Liep Gony. The murderers were given 10 and 20 years respectively. After that the judge put a suppression order onto the case. We have never been the same ever since. They have destroyed our community. Some of us have never recovered from the trauma. Reporters are guilty if anyone gets hurt from their racist reporting.

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Peter Fray

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