In a defiant section debating the pros and cons of extending the banking royal commission, Kenneth Hayne attempts to quash arguments championed by the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, among many.
“Why make my final report now? Why not extend the work of the commission?” Hayne asks, accepting that “many suggested that I seek an extension of the time by which my final report was due to allow for further public hearings.”
He explained that “I must execute those tasks conscious of the fact that the banking system is a central artery in the body of the economy … prolonged injections of doubt and uncertainty can affect performance.
“These reasons oblige me to execute my tasks promptly and do so in ways that would achieve two purposes: to identify properly the underlying causes of conduct, and to prompt proper consideration of how best to avoid recurrence of similar conduct.”
Hayne accepted that “one reason often given for proposing to extend the work of the commission was to give more persons who had been affected by relevant misconduct the chance to give evidence of those events.”
Consistent with his remarks at public hearings, Hayne insisted that “I have paid close regard, and given great significance, to the commission conducting a public inquiry so that there might be public exposure of misconduct and the vindication those affected by misconduct derive from its being exposed.
“All of the many public submissions made to the commission were read and considered, and many were considered repeatedly.”
Denise Brailey, one of the most vocal critics of the banking sector of Hayne’s inquiry, stuck to her guns yesterday.
“The banking royal commission should have revealed the ‘crime of the century’,” Brailey asserted, frustrated her long research into industrialised “mortgage fraud” received scant attention.
“Just a laundromat of bad financial products designed as entrapment. Shocking white collar crime has been covered up yet again,” Brailey declared on Twitter.
Hayne was also forced to go over the resilient allegations of monumental misconduct by Commonwealth Bank over its stewardship of Bankwest since 2008.
Since the interim report, Hayne said, “the solicitor assisting the commission, counsel assisting and I have received many communications from those who see themselves as ‘victims’ of Bankwest, disputing what is said in the interim report, and asking me to re-open consideration of some or all of the issues … and, more recently, saying how necessary it is that there be a further inquiry into their complaints.”
Hayne yielded nothing to this cry for help.
“Those who now agitate for a new inquiry have said in their correspondence [that] their allegations have been the central focus of many previous inquiries and, I would add, two cases in the Supreme Court of New South Wales that have gone to judgment.
“Yet they say there should be yet another inquiry. I do not agree. Enough is enough.”