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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 460


Senator WILLIAMS (New South WalesNationals Whip in the Senate) (13:10): I welcome the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2016. I thank the office of Minister Kelly O'Dwyer for putting it together. I have been involved in this all way through. Senator Collins is right when it comes to RG146. I have said before that you could walk out of a shearing shed and do a few days in a crash course and then you are qualified financial planner and can advise someone where to invest their superannuation or inheritance or whatever. It is just outrageous and I am very pleased to see the standards are coming forward. The board will be informed, the CEO, and policing—if I can use that word—to raise the standard of financial planning, because it is most important that people in Australia, with their lifelong savings, their self-managed superannuation funds or whatever, get good, honest advice to protect their future.

I also thank former Labor senator Mark Bishop, who chaired the committee when we had the inquiry into ASIC. That is where the revelations of the financial planning scandal came out. Some 600,000 Australians were written to to have their cases reviewed—the Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie Private Wealth and others then reviewed those claims of wrong advice and wrongdoing, and are still reviewing them, with compensation being paid. I also commend Adele Ferguson of Fairfax—I will disclose that she is a very good friend of mine. She worked very well on bringing this out. I also commend Jeff Morris, the whistleblower at the Commonwealth Bank.

Senator Dastyari: Hear, hear!

Senator WILLIAMS: I agree with you totally, Senator Dastyari. Jeff Morris is a man who seems to have had his career finish because he was honest and decent and reported the wrongdoings to ASIC. He and the 'ferrets', as they called themselves, brought this whole fiasco out into the open, hoping this parliament is doing the right thing for the future of financial advice and the future for all Australians. I am sure there is much more to go. I commend the bill to the Senate.