This week the Prime Minister announced that there would be a Royal Commission into the banking sector. The highly controversial decision was basically forced on the government, with some seeing it as heading off a move in the Senate where the junior Coalition partner, the Nationals, were prepared to combine with the Greens, Labor and other crossbenchers to force an inquiry to be held.
Despite only a week ago re-affirming the coalition was not interested in a royal commission into banks, the government faced the prospect of being outvoted in parliament because of threats to cross the floor and vote with the opposition by “rogue” elements from within the coalitions own ranks.
Adding a spicy flavour to the decision was that it came after a note was sent from the chiefs of the 4 big banks to the Treasurer asking for it. The email stated:
"Our banks have consistently argued the view that further inquiries into the sector, including a royal commission, are unwarranted…however, it is now in the national interest for the political uncertainty to end."
On the one hand, some may find it comforting that that banks are able to tell our elected leaders what is in the national interests, as looking for direction in this area from our political leaders has proven to be an exercise in futility.
On the other hand, it did provide the opportunity for the Prime Minister to offer up a valuable insight into the machinations of the intimate workings of government. When asked if this announcement constituted a backflip on what he said a week ago, the former barrister and merchant banker offered up “a government's policy remains the same until it is changed”.
Only the sharpest minds can even contemplate the meaning of that statement.
Truly insightful stuff.
In an interview on Sunrise, Treasurer Morrison told host David Koch that the government will ensure that banks are held accountable and described the inquiry as “regrettable but necessary”.
So they’ve made/been forced into making the tough decision.
The royal commission into banks is on its way.
Adviser Ratings will be sure to keep you updated with our take on proceedings as more details of the commission come to light.
Watch this space.