26 October 2021

Michael Bradley on the Crown Casino royal commission [$]: “‘Within a very short time, the commission discovered that for years Crown Melbourne had engaged in conduct that is, in a word, disgraceful.’ So begins the 652-page report of the royal commission into Crown’s fitness to hold its Melbourne casino licence, conducted by retired judge Ray Finkelstein QC. He goes on: ‘This is a convenient shorthand for describing conduct that was variously illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative.’ And on: ‘alarming’, ‘callous’, ‘appalling’, ‘damning’, ‘distressing’ appear in the executive summary, with observations such as ‘the board fell asleep at the wheel’ and ‘many senior executives were indifferent to their ethical, moral and sometimes legal obligations’. It’s hardly surprising then that Finkelstein concluded: ‘It was inevitable that Crown Melbourne would be found unsuitable to hold its casino licence. No other finding was open.’ As Patricia Bergin had found in Sydney, Crown failed every single test of integrity, honesty, legal compliance and even the faintest shred of justification to continue holding the social licence that a casino operator surely requires. It has been exposed — again — as a criminal organisation, not a company. Obviously, then, its casino licence for Crown Melbourne will be torn up and the doors closed, to save the public from any further exposure to the stinking cancer that Crown is. Ha-ha-ha, no. Of course not. Crown will keep its casino licence, thank you very much.” Capital trumps the rule of law.