They were mortified. A government-owned bank, thanks to the Fisher government and that damn American, King O’Malley—claiming to be a Canadian—who shouldn’t be in federal parliament anyway. If it were to catch on that banks did indeed create money and that the super profits of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) were flowing back to the people, it could start people thinking!
How right they were! Fortunately for them, Garfield Barwick, representing the banks in the High Court Bank of New South Wales v. Commonwealth—in a fight for the common wealth—managed to kill off Ben Chifley‘s attempt to nationalise them per medium of the Banking Act of 1947.
The CBA acquired New Zealand’s ASB Bank in 1989 and the State Savings Bank of Victoria in 1991. However, under Ayn Rand‘s malign ‘privatisation at any cost’ influence, which had taken hold of the Reagan and Thatcher governments in the name of ‘economic rationalism’, it was not a conservative government which sold off the Commonwealth Bank of Australia from 1991 to 1996, but the ‘business-friendly’ Keating Labor government.
From once earning a great income for the people of Australia to becoming the money-launderers’ bank of choice: how the once mighty Commonwealth Bank of Australia has fallen!