The Commissioner Kenneth Hayne during the Royal Commission's initial public hearing into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in Melbourne,
The Commissioner Kenneth Hayne during the Royal Commission's initial public hearing into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in Melbourne, EDDIE JIM

Gympie's crucial role in bank Royal Commission

TWO Gympie originals have played a crucial role in exposing crooked practices in the financial services industry.

The revelations at the banking Royal Commission have a connection to Gympie that is little known but undeniable.

The town that saved Queensland from bankruptcy after the discovery of massive quantities of gold in its streets, creeks and underground has now also helped save Australians generally from excesses by some bankers, financial advisers and superannuation managers.

It was Gympie resident and Wide Bay federal MP Llew O'Brien who successfully pressured the federal government into holding the banking inquiry.

And then a Gympie-born lawyer made it happen.

Llew O'Brien is considering crossing the floor
Llew O'Brien is considering crossing the floor AAP

When Gympie-based Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien threatened to cross the floor of federal parliament, to pressure his own government into the banking and financial services inquiry, he helped pave the way for another Gympie original to put the plan into practice.

That person was the man who headed the Royal Commission, Gympie-born retired High Court judge Kenneth Hayne.

Mr O'Brien was among those on the National Party side of the Coalition who effectively blackmailed their own government, threatening to cross the floor of parliament and vote with Labor if that was what was required to bring about the Royal Commission.

And few would now argue that it was not needed.

Mr O'Brien made ground in a larger strategic way also, helping distance the Nationals from a Liberal Party which seems unable to shake-off its self-destructive tendencies.

And in Melbourne, Mr Hayne is busy with the deadline he now has because of Mr O'Brien's actions.

Mr Hayne is preparing his final report for a February 1 deadline.

Mr Hayne was born in Gympie 74 years ago and moved to Melbourne with his family, as a child.

He was an honours student in law at the University of Melbourne before attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

He was replaced on the High Court at 70 by his wife, Michelle Gordon.

He has had what has been acknowledged as a "stellar and distinguished career” in a difficult and complex field.