APRA ACCC Graeme Samuel
Former ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel (Image: AAP/JULIAN SMITH)

So the government has carefully dropped Graeme Samuel's review of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to selected media ahead of its release, getting plenty of coverage while preventing the rest of us from actually reading the report, which is to be released today.

The coverage naturally emphasises APRA's extensive failures, especially in superannuation regulation, where it has virtually ignored the interests of members, and its overly collaborative approach to "regulating" the big banks. All fair enough. APRA and the government have agreed to all two dozen of the review's recommendations.

The APRA review -- as the AFR's James Thomson wisely noted -- forms a companion piece to a culture review commissioned by APRA itself into the Commonwealth Bank last year, also by Samuel, which pulled the scab off decades of poor governance and contempt for customers. Both organisations have a culture of conformity that discourages anyone from challenging a manifestly inadequate status quo; both have cultures that ignore non-financial risks.