Centre Alliance: Wayne Byers must resign

Contemporary Australian governance is all about diffused responsibility. Rule one in this new public disorder is to pretend to reform by instructing the demonstrably failed to do it right. It’s virtue signalling writ large that changes nothing while protecting your arse. To wit. Josh Recessionberg, who stupidly reappointed APRA chairman Wayne Byers before he got the Hayne Royal Commission final results. Now both men looks like dills, via the AFR:

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has secured a guarantee from the prudential regulator to accept all recommendations of the Samuel review, including the adoption of powers to veto the appointment of directors, and it will be given more money to do so.

Mr Frydenberg spoke on Thursday and the day before to APRA chairman Wayne Byres and was confident there would be no more push back from the regulator against some of the more contentious recommendations from the capability review into the prudential regulator.

This included new powers to veto the appointment of directors, something Mr Byres complained would require significant resources, create a “huge bureaucratic machine” and introduce an element of moral hazard.

And why would anyone take this seriously when Recessionberg and Byers have just completely failed to hold themselves to account? Certainly not APRA staff, also at the AFR:

Working conditions in a division of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority that was advising the banks on culture became so toxic that most of the team have quit in frustration over the last 18 months.

Many of those who threw in the towel have gone on to open thriving consultancies, including ASIC’s boardroom shrink of choice Elizabeth Arzadon, who resigned from APRA in May 2018 only to be scooped up by the corporate cop months later.

Former members of APRA’s governance, culture and remuneration team who spoke to The Australian Financial Review said they were regularly undermined by senior executives who did not believe in their mission.

What is the point of a failed Receessionberg instructing a failed Byers to fix a failed APRA? Byers has to go. The Centre Alliance patriots are onto it:

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has called for the resignations of APRA chair Wayne Byres and his deputies after a review into the organisation found its leadership wanting.

The review of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), done for the government and led by former ACCC chief Graeme Samuel, found that “leadership, people and culture” were issues and that it “should address variation in leadership capability for all management levels”.

“If you look at the findings of the banking royal commission and this review you see that APRA has been asleep at the wheel. Leadership and culture have been identified as a problem and they are set at the very top,” Senator Patrick said.

“You can’t earn $886,000 [as Mr Byres does] and not be fully responsible for leadership, transparency and contestability,” Senator Patrick told The New Daily.

“It’s not proper for him to stay in that role. Ultimately, the buck must stop with someone.”

Senator Patrick also called for Mr Byres’ deputies, Helen Rowell and John Lonsdale, to be called to account.

I am also of the view that the deputy chairs, both earning $709,000 per annum, should also consider their ongoing tenure,” Senator Patrick said.

“For far too long, there has been a great reluctance for senior officials in the public sector to accept personal responsibility for the failures of performance and governance by, or within, their organisations.”

Hear, hear.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      I know! It’s quite a sh1tbox salary for such an important position. I’d be taking extra supplement payments if I were him. It’s ridiculous that he not get a proper leadership salary.

  1. mikef179MEMBER

    “For far too long, there has been a great reluctance for senior officials in the public sector to accept personal responsibility for the failures of performance and governance by, or within, their organisations.”

    But how do you get them to accept responsibility? There doesn’t really seem to be any mechanism that enforces it in the public sector.

  2. Lord Walter Mountbatten - Adventurer

    These Centre Alliance fellows are jolly well showing a spine stiffened by some stout English beech.

    Bravo, what!

    Now, they just need to expand their breadth and appeal to the common man, which should strengthen their electoral base.

    • Yeah who are these people… centre alliance. First the gas cartel and now the apra. I think I might need to vote for them next time. Seem to be doing a decent job holding lnp over the barrel too.

  3. Careful what you wish for.

    The assassination of Ken Henry was successful but achieved nothing. In fact, was counterproductive, because megabank can point to that and say they’ve solved the problem.

    I wouldn’t be.

    Would you be surprised if the same played out with APRA… Byers stands down and his successor doubles down on his policies, his only redeeming feature being that he is “not Byers”.

    Don’t have to go too far back in time to find that that is exactly what happened at the RBA. Lower rates and bigger bubble under Lowe. …but at least he’s is not Stevens.


    • Once again Peachy you are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct. It’s like whack a mole, feels good, then another 1 pops up and it’s the same all over again.

      • Not the same, but worse… Abbott? Naah, can’t get any worse… then useless Turdbull… naaah, surely can’t get any worse… well, here we are, Happy Clappy ScoMo…

    • mikef179MEMBER

      Plus, the successor can look at the previous guy and realize that he can either, do the right thing, and end up out of a job and also with not so many options regarding further employment. Or, do the wrong thing, make a lot of money both through salary and investing in the results of his decisions (or lack thereof), realize he has a limited time but that he will get a good consulting job at one of he big banks.

      It’s not the person, it’s the incentives that are all screwed up. It’s no good sacking the devil if hell expects the next guy to behave exactly the same.

  4. Its scandalous how much these unelected quango positions fetch. The belief that you need to pay to get talent is surely shot to pieces when Byers is considered, right?

    One thing is certain that we are blessed to have the senate as it is. If we only had the mainstream political class to contend with absolutely none of this would see the light of day.

    Corruption is rotting this country.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      I know right! They got this guy cheap. Not much more than a manual miners salary. Sad really. No wonder he might be taking kick backs. I would if that’s all they were paying me for such a high powered leadership role. Probably why they haven’t sacked him. He’s the sh1te worker they keep because he never asks for a pay rise.

  5. People on that money dont resign….they are only removed…Govt wont act as it will look like a failure on their behalf…Aus is out of control…RC is forgotten…

    • Don’t think he’ll be worried if he is “resigned”

      Pretty sure he would be straight into some “consultancy” roles with the big 4 on at least that much money if not more

    • I was going to say that the Govt won’t act because Byers has done exactly what the government wanted him to do. i.e. nothing. But now that it is getting media attention there may be a need to hide that fact by sacking him.

  6. H&H I reckon Rex may be reading Macrobusiness. You should offer to become his advisor.
    I used to work with him at Sonartech. He is a nice bloke, willing to speak truth to power, and I reckon he speaks for Australians vs vested interests.

    • Yeesssssss, I was thinking the same reading the article. Two for two now, on the back of the gas scam.