WESTPAC AGM
(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

On Westpac

Stephen Wigney writes: Revelations of Westpac’s venal behaviour with respect to money laundering, together with the litany of continued abuses post-royal commission should make a few things clear: first, that regulators as currently constituted and funded do not have the resources to police an obviously corrupt sector; secondly, the “invisible hand” of the market has (surprisingly…) failed in ensuring optimal outcomes for ordinary Australians; and thirdly, and in my view most importantly, it is now time for the prudential presence of a government run banking entity to be re-established.  A “commonwealth” bank (no relation), offering retail banking with a remit to break even or return a mandated small “profit” back to government, overseen by a parliamentary committee, should be established to use market forces to complement a seriously funded and empowered financial regulator. There appears to be no other way given the total untrustworthiness of the current oligopoly.

Joanne Knight writes: Free markets are encouraging such fundamental levels of corruption that society is breaking down, rise of authoritarianism, child abuse, increasing poverty and inequality. Capitalism has reached a point where it defeats humanity’s basic instinct for self preservation.

Marcus Hicks writes: Meanwhile we have a government obsessed with criminalising unions and further removing red tape for their big business donors.

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Anne Lampe writes: Most likely the major cause of Westpac indifference to where money flowed abroad was that monitoring this area, or allocating resources to it, was regarded as a waste of money. It wasn’t a profit centre that could deliver bonuses up the chain, so no point in resourcing it. Never mind that transactions might be funding terrorists, or child exploiters. If the transactions provide a profit, why put resources into stopping them

Gregory Bailey writes: Of course, it is time some senior bank executives received appropriate justice, but I cannot see this happening when the “quiet Australian” is indifferent to this situation and has been for the past thirty years or more. Nihilism and neoliberalism go together beautifully as the world’s best trickle-up theory.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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