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Mortgage broker debate is everything that is wrong with our democracy

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I've been writing weekly opinion columns for long enough now to know one of the secrets to good opinion writing lies in 'elegant variation'. (Another is to avoid excessive use of the personal pronoun, but hey; some rules were made to be broken).

A good columnist, adhering to the rule of "elegant variation", should continually dazzle his or her reader with a seemingly never-ending array of interesting topics: childcare one week, climate change the next, and so on.

Illustration: Matt DavidsonCredit:

"Keep banging on about one thing, and you'll lose 'em," the accepted wisdom goes.

But these are special times. And I'm in a rule-breaking mood.

Because, Australia, we need to keep talking about mortgage brokers, some of the most important gatekeepers to our multitrillion-dollar obsession with property ownership.

After intense lobbying, brokers on Tuesday scored a three-year reprieve from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who had previously announced his plan to abolish the "trail commissions" paid by lenders to brokers over the life of a loan – a practice described by the Royal Commission as "money for nothing".

Illustration: Dionne Gain Credit:

Under a re-elected Coalition government, brokers will now be allowed to keep receiving these payments until a review by the competition watchdog and financial regulators in 2022.

It's a........

© The Age