Image for ‘Rank bank Fin soup! Fake news at the Australian Financial Review’

*Pic: The Fin has scooped the pool for journalism awards granted by Westpac and Citibank (Image screenshot Australian Financial Review, 19-20 May 2018)

The Australian Financial Review has a peculiar view of bank malpractice: that it doesn’t exist. All this kerfuffle is really the result of bank customers’ complaining about the tragic consequences of their own failings.

The Sydney Morning Herald has devoted months to reproducing fake news on world affairs. Its stablemate has maintained comparable standards regarding coverage of Banking Royal Commission hearings.

On 5 December 2017, the Fin deferred to David Murray, the former Commonwealth Bank CEO, for whom the impending Banking Royal Commission was a threat to the system’s stability. This blowhard drove the CBA’s concerted thrust into an ethics-free culture, yet he is still sought after as expert commentator.

In Part 1 (8 December) of my Clayton’s Banking Royal Commission series, I noted that Tony Boyd, the AFR’s decades-long financial columnist, pooh-poohed the necessity of a Royal Commission. Boyd’s opinion set the scene for much ensuing commentary.

On 13 December, fellow AFR writer Aaron Patrick declaims, with respect to a story involving Westpac:

‘But the self-styled whistleblowers and bank victims may find that disillusionment awaits, and possibly come to wish the government had immediately gone ahead with its plan for an independent tribunal to hear their complaints and order compensation.’

The disgruntled borrowers are the source of the conflict. Patrick assumes that the bank’s belatedly constructed “customer advocate” centres are independent. These centres merely dig victims further into the mire, as is their intention.

The editorial of 12 February is representative. It claims:

‘The financial sector royal commission … is fundamentally a political response to the core problem of dysfunctional politics, rather than of fundamental problems in Australia’s banks. … there is no evidence of systemic corruption, criminality or even widespread unethical behaviour in Australia’s big banks.’

The author of this garbage finds no evidence because s/he hasn’t been looking. If s/he had cared to contact me, I could have given them a long earful …

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*Dr Evan Jones Associate Professor Evan Jones is a retired political economist. He taught at Sydney University from 1973-2006. He has been writing on bank malpractice against small business and the family farmer for over a decade. Articles by Evan Jones, HERE