(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

In Australia, political donors get to call the shots in policy.

From 2013 to 2018, when Kenneth Hayne began his royal commission, the big banks and financial advisers controlled financial regulation via the Coalition government. They paid for that right: between 2010 and 2019 they gave $5.99 million in donations to the Coalition. It also helped that Arthur Sinodinos, Josh Frydenberg and Kelly O'Dwyer, successive ministers for financial regulation, were all former major bank executives, as is the current minister, Jane Hume. The big banks didn't just dictate financial regulation, the Coalition gutted the corporate regulator ASIC for them as well.

The result? Tens of thousands of bank customers fleeced, gouged, ripped off and immiserated through a variety of ways identified by the royal commission, and a compensation bill running into many billions.