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Associate Professor Penny Crofts
University of Technology Sydney

The recently concluded Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry presented evidence of malfeasance, malpractice, and unethical and criminal behaviour by the banks. This paper analyses the narratives proffered by the banks that were reported on the front page of Australian media during the Royal Commission. Drawing upon Stanley Cohen’s ideas, this paper analyses the strategies of denial and neutralisations used by the banks, including literal denial (nothing happened), interpretive denial (something happened but it’s not what you think) and implicatory denial (it happened but action is not needed and/or possible), and provides insight into the ways in which powerful institutions and individuals intervene in, construct, and support moral and legal codes.

Dr Penny Crofts is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, UTS. Penny is currently researching “Rethinking Corporate Liability: Criminal Law, Horror and Philosophy” funded by an ARC DECRA.

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