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Speech of the Year - The Hon Mr Kenneth Hayne AC QC on the decay of trust

The Honourable Mr Kenneth Hayne AC QC is a former Justice of the High Court of Australia and was the Banking Royal Commissioner.

Here are a few extracts from an important and useful speech he delivered to the University of Melbourne a couple of weeks ago.


A Commission cannot decide any issue. It can only make recommendations. It cannot and does not decide whether offences have been committed. 

If regulators and the courts are doing their jobs properly and efficiently, misconduct is identified, prosecuted and punished. If either the regulators or the courts fail in their tasks, misconduct multiplies, and justifiable grievances build up.

Trust in all sorts of institutions, governmental and private, has been damaged or destroyed. 

Scholars in many places (including this Law School) are considering issues about democratic decay. Some see public law as an important element in slowing or preventing that decay. And I am sure that this is right.

Here's the speech in full - it's only 9 pages and you'll be glad you did!  

On Royal Commissions - The ... by Michael Smith on Scribd