It has all the elements of a crudely crafted, if effective, tale: banks and other financial services, founded, proud of their standing in society; financial service providers, with such pride, effectively charging the earth for providing elementary services; then, such entities, with self-assumed omnipotence, cheating, extorting and plundering their clients.
This is the scene in Australia, a country where the bankster and financial con artist have been enthroned for some time, worshipped as fictional job creators and wealth managers for the economy. Impunity was more or less guaranteed. All that might be expected would be the odd sacking here and there, the odd removal, the odd fine and limp slap of the wrist. But then came along something the Australian government never wanted: a Royal Commission.
While Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services industry initially promised to be a fizzer, one that risked being stage managed into oblivion by a conservative former High Court justice, the contrary has transpired. Even in its infancy, it has produced a string of revelations that have sent the financial establishment, and those supporting them, into apoplectic worry.
The Turnbull government, long steadfast in treating Australia’s banking and financial sector like a golden calf, has found itself encircled by misjudgement and error. Former front bencher Barnaby Joyce had to concede error in arguing…