A sense of complacency, a lack of intellectual curiosity, a failure to think about the bigger picture, a pursuit of consensus lessening constructive criticism.  These are some of the findings in the Australian Prudential Regulatory Agency report into the Commonwealth Bank.  It concludes that “CBA’s continued financial success dulled the senses of the institution”.  Its management understood the financial risks, but not the non-financial risks, facing the company.

While we’re on the subject of finance the budget has attracted a wealth of commentary on Pearls and Irritations. John Falzon, Michael Keating, Giles Parkinson, Ranald MacDonald, Michael Pascoe, Ross Gittins, Ian McAuley and Mungo MacCallum have all contributed. Such is our obsession with fiscal figures that the 1000 pages of budget documentation are almost all about money. But what is money? On the ABC’s Minefield there is a rich discussion about money – what it is, what it isn’t, how it’s socially useful, and the danger of believing that money has value in itself.

Something as distant from the budget as possible –  Bach in Japan, Bach in Hermannsburg. On the ABC’s Spirit of Things Noel Debien is engaged in conversation with Masaaki Suziki, director of the Bach Collegium of Japan, and Morris and Barbara Stewart who have taken the Aboriginal women’s choir to Germany. Hear about Christianity in Japan, the Hermannsburger Missions Gesellschaft, and the adaptation of German liturgical music in different cultures. It ends with a promo for the film The Song Keepers.

Cambodian Government forces sale of last independent newspaper – Human Rights Watch

All eyes on India’s key Karnataka election – ucanews

Saturday Extra:

Trump’s only possible Iran Strategy is a fantasy – Washington Post

It’s a neoliberal budget when we no longer believe in neoliberalism.


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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