11 Feb 2019

How the Royal Commission came about. Nothing to do with Morrison as he claims.

Taken from an article By Annabel Crabb


Here's a thought.

If the numbers in the House of Representatives hadn't been so finely balanced and the Senate hadn't been such a wilful soup of unusual alliances, we'd never have got the royal commission into the banks.

The Labor Party announced three years ago that it backed a royal commission, but this would have remained a twinkle in Chris Bowen's eye had a handful of National Party agitators not decided to team up with the Greens and various independents to convert the royal commission from an Opposition press release into the avenging regulatory angel of death that is Rowena Orr.

That the Government would otherwise have kept stolidly denying that there was a very big problem and saying things like "the problem with a royal commission is that it will take forever and achieve nothing … except for the bevy of lawyers who will be able to afford new beach houses on the strength of all the fees that they will charge"* is absolutely beyond doubt.

The neck-snapping pivot from "Everything's fine, what are these people going on about" to "Christ on a bike, let's sack everyone" is not a phenomenon exclusive to the banking sector, whose Hayne-Drain last week collected NAB's Ken Henry and Andrew Thorburn; it is, in political terms, ENTIRELY attributable to the fact that Barry O'Sullivan, Wacka Williams and a fellow handful of National Party MPs decided to make a nuisance of themselves given that the numbers in Parliament gave them that opportunity.

Do keep that in mind the next time you hear the Prime Minister claiming, as he did last week: "I initiated the Royal Commission."

Those familiar with the internal workings of the decision recall — for what it's worth — that Mr Morrison (then the treasurer) fought against the royal commission the hardest.

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