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Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Page: 6651

Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 6 August 2009:

With reference to an article in The Age on 3 August 2009 concerning payments made through an offshore tax haven to Mr Donald McArthur, a lobbyist working for a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) subsidiary, Securency:

Senator Sherry (Assistant Treasurer) —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1) (a)   Does the Government know when the Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation into Securency and Note Printing Australia is likely to finish; and (b) is the Government receiving briefings from the AFP on the progress of its investigation.

(2)   Has the Government started planning its own investigation into the governance of RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia, once the AFP investigation is completed. At the time of this answer, the AFP investigation into Securency is ongoing. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate for the Government to comment on the investigation at this time. The Reserve Bank has advised the Government that the Board of Securency has also appointed an external accounting firm to undertake a thorough independent review of the company’s policies and practices in relation to the use of agents, to ensure these are at best practice. This review is expected to take several months to complete.

(3)   Has the Government requested an explanation from the RBA about Securency’s employment of Mr McArthur; if so: (a) was the RBA overseeing approval of such payments; (b) how much money has Securency paid the lobbyist; and (c) is the lobbyist still employed by Securency.

(4)   Are government-funded entities, such as Securency, required to check on convictions for fraud, corporate law offences, civil actions or bankruptcy of the businesses and individuals the employ or engage.

(5)   What guidelines/regulations are in place to ensure Securency has not paid bribes to obtain contracts in other countries. Securency is a joint venture between the Reserve Bank and Innovia Films, a private company. Consistent with the Corporations Act and relevant Commonwealth Acts, responsibility for the appointment and management of agents by Securency rests with the Board of Securency. The Reserve Bank has advised the Government that the Board of Securency has strict and unambiguous protocols in place governing the use of agents, and that these measures include: - the performance of due diligence on agents prior to their appointment and regularly during their term of appointment; - inclusion in all Securency’s agency agreements provisions including a code of conduct and ethics which specifically oblige agents not to make payments to government officials and politicians; and - regular external legal review of Securency’s agency agreements to ensure that they comply with all OECD and UN protocols and Australian legislation.