“I’m so angry with you I could spit!”
That was the response I received from a lady one Saturday morning after I posted a blog in April, 2016, ‘Do We Need a Royal Commission into the Banks?’.
I was minding my own business reading the papers in a local café when she walked up and went off like a Saturn rocket. She was absolutely disgusted with me.
Susie (not her real name) would be in her late fifties and we go back about two years. September 19, 2015, to be exact.
Again, it was a Saturday morning when she approached me for the first time and screeched, “Are you Suncow?!”
I had just posted a Moowsletter on the website titled, ‘The Politics of Dancing’ following the swearing in of Malcolm Turnbull as the new Prime Minster. In short, I opined how Mr Turnbull wouldn’t last a full term because I didn’t think he was leadership material.
Susie was incensed and so she gave me both barrels.
Susie doesn’t subscribe to the Moowsletter either, instead she stalks the website every week, waiting for my latest post.
Are You a Susie?
On Thursday, Prime Minister Turnbull did the back-flip of all back-flips and announced a Royal Commission (RC) into the banks. And as soon as he announced it, you could hear a chorus of Susie’s cheering from the roof tops because the banks would finally be taken to task for the way they have treated their customers.
To be honest, I don’t mind Susie. We now get along quite well. We’re just on different roads to Rome hoping to find a solution to the same problems.
But when she challenged me about a RC into the banks last year, she was fed up like everyone else. Deep down she cared but was enormously frustrated and needed to vent.
My argument was (and still is) a RC will not get rid of the problems within the banks, and this Thursday’s announcement by Malcolm Turnbull was proof positive.
And Susie, I know you’ll be reading this, so you’re not going to like what I have to say.
On Thursday, the PM threw you a big dummy and my concern is you may have fallen for it. Big time!
For the past two years the Prime Minister has resisted calls from all corners of Parliament House plus the electorate to have a RC into the banks. (Remember the PM was the MD of Goldman Sachs, one of Australia’s largest investment banks).
But this week, he was approached by the heads of our largest banks asking if they could be investigated. I.e. they asked for their own RC. Sounds weird doesn’t it, it was also very cunning.
And this is why they did it:
1. It will get rid of a whole lot of bad PR for a while. i.e. its just a PR stunt
2. The terms of reference for the RC will stipulate that any inquiry into the banks cannot investigate anything that is currently being investigated. i.e. the banks have told Turnbull and Morrison what they can and can’t investigate and both men acquiesced to the banks terms. It’s like the student telling the headmaster what the school rules will be.
3. The banks can control the terms of reference rather than being thrown to the wolves if there is a change of government at the next federal election and the new government established a RC. Meaning, even if the headmaster is replaced, the student still sets all the rules.
In short, what this means is all those complaints by bank customers that have attracted so much media attention in recent years cannot be investigated. Not one of them.
And that’s the problem with most RC’s, they just become massive awareness programs and rarely change a thing. They’re a bit like steers, they make a heap of noise, but don’t produce much.
I know this is not what you wanted to hear Susie, but you’ve just been sold up the river. This whole Royal Commission into the banks is a massive joke, only no one is laughing, except the banks.
Have a great weekend!