Royal Commission: Dark humour in Oz
Australia’s Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was a bruising business for all involved, but it was not without its light-hearted moments.
The finest was a fabulously uncomfortable photo call arranged for the formal handing over of the 1,000-page report from Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne to Australia’s treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
The two sat next to each other, the report between them, with a sense of discomfort not seen since the British royal family had to pretend to be happy about that American preacher at the wedding of Harry and Meghan. “Can we get a handshake or something?” asked a member of the photographer pack.
“Nope,” said Hayne, looking at the table, while Frydenberg grinned awkwardly.
“Can we maybe get you just shifting it [the report] to him?” tried another, gamely.
“It’s all right. It’s done,” said Frydenberg, realizing the futility of attempting to get Hayne to do anything of the sort.
The treasurer then had the weekend to read the report before it was formally announced on Monday, which was also the moment bank executives saw it. The press immediately set out to get comment from the executives in question, but one, Shayne Elliott of ANZ, was not in his usual place.
Instead he was located outside the bank’s Melbourne headquarters in a bright yellow vest, selling the Big Issue, something arranged six months before.