Bleats

The Banking Royal Commission Has Given Us A New Hero And He Is Kenneth Hayne, Unsmiling Dark Angel Of Financial Justice

He's the hero Australia needs - especially those dead Australians still paying for financial advice.

The final report of the Royal Commission into the Financial Services Sector was made public this afternoon and if you were thinking that the upshot was that everything was pretty much fine then you might want to sit down.

Short version of long, long report: the banks are complicit in a wholesale exploitation of the public because it turns out that when you let them regulate themselves and also build an entire incentive structure around individual greed then customer service gets rather bumped down the priority list, to a literally criminal degree.

“Misconduct, especially misconduct that yields profit, is not deterred
by requiring those who are found to have done wrong to do no more than pay compensation,” Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne declared. “And wrongdoing is not denounced by issuing 
a media release.”

Hayne and Frydenberg: BFFS (pending)

Will the government follow through on these recommendations? They have pledged to do so.

Of course, this is the government who fought tooth and nail to prevent the royal commission ever happening, as recently as Sunday were saying that they’d look at the recommendations but didn’t want to make too many changes lest they spook banks into not lending and/or awaken Finzor, the slumbering the demonic dragon-creature who rules over the financial services sector and must be obeyed lest he turn the economy to stone with his baleful gaze.

So let’s call that a “maybe”.

The one certainty that has come out of this is that Kenneth Hayne is the new hero that Australia needs.

Hayne is the Royal Commissioner responsible for said report, which was handed to the government on Friday. At the time there was a photo op with Josh Frydenberg where the affable Treasurer attempted to play nice and suggested a handshake – presumably to indicate that he and Hayne were partners in making a better nation.

And Hayne said, quietly but forcefully, “nope”. Oddly, it’s even better than that sounds.

And now, given the contents of the report, we know why: the government’s insistence that everything was basically fine and sure there were a few bad apples but banks were footling them out as part of the self-regulation process was exactly as patently ridiculous as it sounded before then-PM Malcolm Turnbull gave up and called the Royal Commission.

Might the government have hoped to have gone to an election before this got released? They might indeed!

Let’s see what actual changes come out of it, shall we? And who’s betting on “few”?

Tony Abbott Is Fighting A One Man Battle For Adequate Surf Club Toilets

Never let it be said he won't take on the big jobs.

They say there are no heroes left in Australia. No-one brave enough to take on the big issues. No-one prepared to say what everyone is thinking.

And that’s why it’s great that finally Tony Abbott has taken a brave stand again… um, portapotties being deployed at Manly Surf Lifesaving Club during the Cole Classic?

“Like thousands of other people I’m here today for the Cole Classic swim. Literally hundreds of thousands of people visit Manly Beach every year. They need better facilities than this,” ,” he shirtlessly told his camera on the weekend, indicating the portapotties behind him. “This is one of the things I’ll be fighting for in the build up to this election.”

Whether the portapotties are a permanent fixture or just there for the event remains unexamined. But a bigger question is this: um, what?

See, aside from everything else, public beachside facilities are a local council responsibility, not a federal government one.

So not only is it not T-Bones’ responsibility, it’s literally outside of his jurisdiction. And presumably he knows that, given that he’s been the local member since 1994 and we’d hate to suggest that he doesn’t know his job.

Insert your own “grooming your successor” joke here!

Mind you, maybe he’s thinking of making the leap to Mayor in the event that the election goes south for him. And given his love of slogans, we’d like to suggest “Manly Council: show me the dunny”.

Cotton Farms In Queensland Are Chock-Full Of Murray-Darling Water, Unlike The Murray-Darling

That drought seems to be excitingly industry-specific.

As the nation collectively threw up a little bit in their mouths over the sight of millions of dead fish choking the tainted waters of the Murray-Darling, questions of who is responsible have been floating around like… well, you know.

And in order to get to the bottom of the matter – was it certain growers getting preferential treatment at the rivers’ expense? The ravages of the drought? A mysterious vampire curse? – Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick took to the skies to see how the afflicted region was faring.

And what did he see? Well, check it out for yourself:

Those photos purport to show cotton farms  with irrigation channels and water storage areas filled with Murray-Darling water, as opposed to the actual Murray-Darling whose levels are at historic lows.

This airborne photo shoot came mere hours before the South Australian royal commission into the Murray Darling Basin plan delivered its assessment of how well things were working. Spoiler: not at all well, including breaching the Water Act regarding how water should be taken from the river for things like, say, irrigating cotton farms.

What’s going to happen?

Well, given that there’s an election set for announcement any old time now it’s hard to imagine the government taking anything remotely like action.

That’s especially since the official Envoy for the Drought, Nationals MP and former leader Barnaby Joyce, has most recently been declaring that “There is no umpire in the political debate. There’s no rule book. What you get away with wins”, which sounds a little… um, odd for someone tasked with defending the rules-based order of representative democracy.

Although on the basis of those photos, it’s hard to imagine those cotton growers would disagree with him.

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