There are a number of reasons behind Westpac Bank’s record profit of almost $7 billion. Suffice to say capital and interest repayments on bubble-inflated residential mortgage helped the bottom line.

Westpac’s announcement and the RBA’s 25 basis point cut in the cash rate gave me a flashback to a talk I’d given at Melbourne University in 2005 when I’d mentioned both Westpac and the RBA in unflattering terms.  (And hasn’t Westpac resurrected itself from the Bank that nearly went under in the early nineties!)

My talk “Collapsing Economies and National Resource Rents” was given at a Centre for Public Policy symposium on “Equity in Sourcing Revenue” at Melbourne University on 2 August 2005.

Other speakers were Professors Julian Disney and John Freebairn, and Tim Colebatch, Economics Editor of THE AGE. The symposium was chaired by Brian Howe, AO, Director of the Centre for Public Policy and former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

On the day, I took the opportunity to practise a little prophesy: “Ladies and gentlemen, if we don’t take what is the community’s for the community then, tragically, community – civil society – is lost.”


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