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(generated from captions) for what he uncovered. From the

opening paragraph of his

600-page report Commissioner

Ted Mulligan pulled no punches.

He said nothing prepared him

for the foul undercurrent of

society revealed in the

evidence to the inquiry, not

his life in the community or

work in the law as a judge. I

was appalled and horrified at

the way in which children were

exploited and abused. The

findings of the Mulligan

inquiry have shocked the

Premier Mike Rann. The report

chronicles account after

account of children robbed not

only of their innocence but of

their past, their present and

their future. The inquiry was

meant to last six months but

ran three years as the cases mounted. We probably just saw

the tip of the iceberg. Almost

800 people testified, more than

240 people were in State care

when abused. The names of 434

perpetrators have been referred

to the police. So far 2 have

been arrested and 13

reported. Some of the alleged

abuse dated back to the 1940s.

It allegedly involved foster

parent an their relative,

priests, taxi drivers, teachers

an charity workers. Now that

the report's finally come out

it's a God send and it's as

though the heavens have

opened. The Government

immediately adopted two of the

reports' 54 recommendations

which includes an apology to

the victims but that won't be

enough for some who are

prepared to seek compensation

in the courts. There's a bit of

backlash along the Murray River

to the federal plan to buy back

irrigation licences from

farmer. The idea was to reduce

the drain on the river system

and improve environmental

flows. But some drought hit

farmers say they're being

targeted where they're most vum

neshl and they want the ACCC to

investigate. Their solution is

for irrigators to hand back an agreed percentage of their allegation but that's been

ruled out by the big irrigation

grips. The good rain in the

northern end of the Murray-Darling system hasn't

made its way south. Down here

in the Riverina on the

NSW/Victorian border, the river

is running but this is the

second year with no water

allocation. Karen Mack dond's

extended family has eight

properties in the district and

the outlook is bleak. My family

business $90,000 water bill

each year, no water, that comes

off the back of I'd say at

least four years of minimal

alkaigs of 30% where you're

still paying your full fixed

charge water bill. After a few

years of that the stress on you

is enormous. Adding to that

stress is serious doubts over

the Federal Government's $50

million buyback of irrigation

water to help replenish the

Murray. Some farmers here are

so desperate they are

considering the offer. But

others say it will leave the

area high and dry. I think

there's too many desperate

sellers selling large parcels

of water and I think our area's

being targeted at the moment

because we do have the cheapest

water and we are under the most

stress. With that in mind the

local community has taken its

complaint to the Australian

competition watchdog on the

grounds tp Government's failing

to disclose the market price

and that's uncompetitive. It's

not balance, it distorts the

market and it's very unfair. In a commercial sense the Government is really taking

advantage of people who are at

their lowest point. The Murray

Valley community has its own

solution in mind. They want a

moratorium on the market until

the drought is over. As wem as

that, they believe every

irrigate nor the basin should

hand back up to 15% of their

allocation to the Government to

solve the problem. We would say

that it's very compelling that

a voluntary arrangement of

maybe handing back an agreed

proportion of the current water

allocation without adjusting

the cap and that to be

accompanied by proper payment,

fair and just compensation, if

you like, for that water that's

handed back. Some irrigators

say that's simply code for a

compulsory buy back and that

isn't an omings. I'd sooner see

the Government operating in the

market than going compulsory acquisition. We're just not

interested in compulsory

acquisition at all and we've

said for a long time if people want our water they need to

come and buy it. Supporters of

the Murray Valley proposal say

the compensation granted would

be the payment and the

irrigators would determine how

much. I look at compulsory buy

back is when the Government

comes in and tems us what we've

got to do. But as I say, we

need the time and respect to be

able to go out, have a chat

amongst all the shareholders

and come to an agreement

amongst ourselves. 25-year-old

Michael Moodie left his job in

Mildura to work on the family

property. He says if the water

licences leave the region they

too may as well pack up and go

elsewhere. My future's on the

land and obviously that's only

possible if there's a community

around it and if there's no

water in this community then

you're sofrt here by your own,

aren't you? The ACCC says lit

consideration. give the complaint due

If you would like to look back

at tonight's interview with

Topper Whitehead or any stories

you can look at our website.

Business'. But here's 'Lateline

Opes Prime's clients take to

the courts to stop their shares

being sold at discount

prices. Are you confident of

your Kline's case? Yes, we

are. Subprime write down, Swiss

investment bank UBS marks more

multibillion dollar losses. And

market reform, the US pledges

to overhaul its financial

regulations. Government has a

responsibility to make sure our

financial system is regulated

effectively. And in this area

we can do a better job.

To the markets and with

investors unable to shrug off

credit concern, Australian

shares ended little change. The

All Ords advanced 5 points

after it rebounded from an

early slump. The ASX 200

enjoyed a similar rise but bank

losses eroded gains in resource

Japanese business confidence stocks. Despite a sharp drop in

the Nikkei rose 1%. After a

volatile session the Hang Seng

climbed more than 1% and in

London the FTSE is up 45

points. That rise in the FTSE

is despite more fallout from

the subprime crisis tonight

with Swiss banking giant UBS

announcing it's more than

doubling its write downs and

seeking more emergency capital.

As well, Deutsche Bank has

announced a US $4 billion write

down. For more I'm joined by

Neil Dennis from the 'Financial

Times'. Let's start with that

UBS write down of another US

$20 billion and the move to

seek more capital. Were those

moves more dramatic than

expected? A little more

dramatic. Merrill Lynch had a

note out last night saying that

it expected further write downs

today. I was predicting about

US $18 billion. There was a

story out as well in this

morning's newspaper saying

similar amounts. So $19 billion

ton write downs was a little

more than expected. Now on the capital increase we were

expecting more in the region of

about 12 billion or 13 billion

Swiss franks, that came in at a

surprising 15 billion. That's

the writes issue from

shareholder. Yes, that's the

capital increase, the right

issue, yes. That was surprising

, much more than

expected? Yeah, that was more

than was expected. Um, it's

larger - I mean - but there are

hopes now that it can draw a

line under its capital increase

now after it only just got

permission from shareholders in

February for its capital

increase last year. You talk

about drawing a line but in

fact on top of UBS we've also

now got more write downs from

Deutsche Bank and they've said

the situation has deteriorated

dramatically in recent

months? That's right. And some

people are expecting more from

Deutsche and possibly from the

German banks as we. They have

been fairly quiet on the

subprime issues than the credit

related write downs so far. Now

that said, of course, both

stock, Deutsche, UBS are up but

indeed the broader market is u.

We just talked about drawing a

line. Is there some sense that

the end may be near? There's

some sense that we might be

beginning to see clarity from

the banks now. There have been

calls from some of the

investment banks to say look,

can you just tell us now what

you're exposure is to these

markets to this toxic waste,

can you just lay it on the

table for us and it appears

that's what UBS may have done

now and there is a feeling that

this is the last we'll hear

from write downs from UBS. So

hence we've seen its shares up

more than 9% this

afternoon. And how's Wall

Street looking like it's going

to react? How are the futures

looking? The futures are up.

Futures on the Dow are about 90

points higher. These are being

led by banking stocks. Lehmann

brothers who yesterday declared

it was going to seek capital

increase of $3 billion. It was

- its shares were down 3% in

after hours trade last night.

This morning they're up more

than 2% in premarket

trade. Neil Dennis, thanks for

talking to us. You're

welcome. Back home there's more

bad news for customers of

failed Melbourne stock broker

Opes Prime. The stock broker's

receiver Deloittes says it

can't save unsecured creditors

and clients will see any of

their money returned. Opes and

its related companies had more

than 1,000 customers and today

four investors launched a case

in the Federal Court. They've

challenged the right of the ANZ

Bank to sell their shares to

recoupe more than $#00 - $600

million in loans. To sell or

not to sell that is the

question being thrashed out in

the Federal Court. Four clients

of Opes Prime are attempting to

stop ANZ from selling shares

that were traded through the

failed broker stock lending

business. The plaintiffs argue

they were misled by Opes

Prime's marketing materials

which said that investors would

retain beneficial and economic

ownership of the stock

including full exposure to

dividends, corporate action and

market risk. Counsel for the

investors David Denton SC says

his clients have borrowed on

average 40% of the value of

their share portfolios. He told

the court the investors now

want to pay off the balance on

their margin loans rather than

watch ANZ dispose of the

shares. Are you confident of

your client's case? Yes, we are

confident. David Denton SC says

the shareholders had originally

invested in stocks through a

British Virgin Island company

related to Opes Prime. They

later found out through market

rumours that ownership of the

shares was transferred to Opes

Prime stockbroking in Australia

and then to ANZ through a stock

lending arrangement. Federal

Court Justice Ray Finkelstein

note fd the applicants had to

rely just on their contract

with Opes prime and not the

firm's marketing brochures they

were gone for all money.

Counsel for ANZ says the bank

plans to sell $1616 million of

shares. ANZ has already sold

off a quarter of their shares.

Mr Beach argued that ANZ only

dealt with the registered owner

of shares and nothing cast

doubt on the bank's position as

a bona fide purchaser of the

shares for value. He told the

court that ANZ has a program in

place to ensure the orderly

realisation of a huge pool of

securities and the sale would

not be completed for at least

three days. The case has been

adjourned until Thursday. And

Opes Prime's other clients will

also have to wait for clarity.

The receivers and managers

deluts say the position of Opes

Prime's accounts remains

unclear and will take some time

to reconcile. It was a lacklustre session on our

market today, not even the

decision by the Reserve Bank to

keep official interest rates at

7:25% had much impact. I spoke

to stock broker Marcus

Padley. The market managed a

small rise today but investors

really had trouble making up

their minds? Yes, doesn't seem

like anyone could make up their

minds today including the RBA.

Market was up six, it was up 18

at one point, down 55 as well.

So a bit all over the place. It

does finish a fairly grotty

quarter for us, the worst

quarter since 1987 and on the

back of that - in the last

month we saw the market down 4%

with resources down 8% and

banks up 2.6, that sort of

tells the story of the last

month, there was a rotation of

resources into banks. You

mention the RBA there, was

there much reaction to I guess

the widely anticipated decision

to keep interest rates on

hold? Not really. There are a

lot of statements afterwards

from brokers saying what they

thought interest rates were

going to do for the rest of the

year or next year and if 50% of

them thought they were going up

50% thought they were on hold

and I think one broker thought

they were going to go down next

year. So a very mixed reaction.

I think the message is the RBA

are now on wait and see or on

hold to see what happens before

they make their next decision.

So there are quite a few

brokers now backing off from

the thoughts that they're going

to raise rates in May when

previously they were expecting

it. In terms of where there was

some major movement today, the

property trust sector, some

good news from FKP property

Group? Yes, FKP Property Group

managed to extend and

restructure their debts. They

got a syndicated bank facility

of 375 million, that's about

half their total debt. They now

don't have to do any

refinancing until the middle of

2009 and suddenly they seem to

have crossed the line from

being a company everyone was

worrying about, about their

refinancing coming up, to a

company that suddenly looks

like it's good a good business,

decent cash flows and can

inspire bank confidence. It

does seem all stocks are either

one side of the fence or the other and there's an

opportunity to buy companies

that everybody is fearing the

worst about when in fact they

have quite a decent underlying

business and that's FKP. So if

FKP prove there's is money out

there, you've just got to get

it, where does that leave the

Rubicon Japan Trust. They

haven't wrapped up a

refinancing but they did get

some good news from their bank

and they were up pretty sharply

today? Yes, they got an

extension of their loan

facility from the NAB and

jumped 11%. I don't think

really that's quite in the same

league as FKP in terms of

having restructured and

refinanced their debt. They

still have another deadline

coming up in April so the fear

factor hasn't entirely gone

away but obviously encouraging

that there are companies that

now managing to see their way

through the other side of the

credit crisis. Marcus Padley,

thanks for talking to

us. Thank, Ali. To the other

major movers on our market

today and a day after Solomon

Lew launched his $900 million

hostile bid Just Group they climbed another 5.5%.

Midwest Corporation has

blamed Murchison Metals'

unsuccessful takeover offer for

a $6.4 million loss in

2007. The iron ore miner says

it spent $9.5 million repelling

Murchison's hostile bid. If not

for those kos, MidWest says it

would have made a net profit of

$750,000. The company has

warned it could be hit by more

takeover bills this year as

China's Sino steel mounts a

hostile bid. In the United

States plans have been

announced for a major overhaul

of financial regulation. The

blueprint is being seeb as the

biggest change to financial

rule since the great

Depression. US Treasury

secretary Henry Paulson says

the reforms are not in response

to the subprime turmoil and he

admits most of the plans won't

be enacted until long after

it's over. With the US

financial system stretched to

breaking point, Treasury

Secretary Henry Paulson had a

blunt assessment of how

regulators have coped with the

current crisis. Government has

a responsibility to make sure

our financial system is

regulated effectively and in

this area we can do a better

job. That better job is

hopefully contained in Mr

Paulson 's 128-page regulatory

blueprint. The key

recommendations are a merger of

the securities and exchange

Commission with the commodity

furs trading Commission so one

regulator covers the whole

financial services sector. And

from a prudential viewpoint the

Federal Reserve will be given

power to oversee non-bank

financial institutions which

should give it a better early

warning system for issues like

subprime lending. It's the most

widereaching reform that we've

seen since the great Depression

era and it's really an attempt

to try to get rid of some out

moded regulatory aspeck s that

tries to put under one roof the

regulatory oversight of banks,

of investment companies and

insurance companies. While

today's report is timely, it

was commissioned a year ago in

response to criticism of the

heavy handed Sarbanes Oxley Act

which was introduced following

the collapses of Enron and

WorldCom. Our first and most

urgent gent priority is

woshing through the capital

turmoil and housing downturn

and that will be our priority

until this situation is

resolved. In Australia there

are also calls for better

regulation, particularly of

margin lending and short

selling which have again ul fed

a number of companies and

broking houses of which Opes

Prime is the latest. In a rare

public appearance today, the

man who heads the future fund

which will soon become

Australia's biggest investor,

was relaxed about the

regulatory issue. We work in

regulated markets all around

the world so we expect to just,

you know, accommodate changes

in regulation, that's a fact of

life and these are fast moving

markets an regulation needs to

keep up with that. Not so

relaxed are big private sector

investors who fear in the

current climate governments

will overreact. Any response

that is based on incidents in

the market place that may not

be representative of how the

market place works as a whole

and where you might get a

disproportionate regulatory

response would not be a good outcome. While the Australian

Government prepares its own

report on the issue, the final

shape of the US response won't

be known until well after a new

president is sworn into the

White House next year. Well one

man who argues Australia

doesn't necessarily need more

regulation but it does need

more proactive regulation is

Charles Macek a director of

both Telstra and Wesfarmers. He

as chairman of the reporting

council until the end of last

year and is a former head of

the Australian investors

management Association. He

joined me from our Melbourne

studios earlier this

evening. Welcome to the

program. Thank you, Ali. We've

just heard about the proposed

regulatory changes in the US

but what about in Australia?

How much blame for the market

turbulence, the Allco Finances,

the ABC child care, the Tricoms

and the Opeses, how much blame

for those can be laid at the

feet of our regulatory

system? I think there's some

similarities in this cycle with

all other cycles that I've

witnessed in the markets over

the last 40 years in that we

move from optimism to pessimism

and then market behaviour, that

means we move between greed and

fear and typically in the greed

part or the upswing part of the

cycle we focus on making money,

we allow our standards to drop.

We don't do our due diligence,

we ignore risks. Inevitably we

drive up the price of whatever

I call the asset of desire to

an unsustainable level so when

the music stops we find that

that asset of desire drops in

price, maybe collapses, we

don't like losing money we look

for scapegoats, the scandals

are identified and in that

sense this cycle is no

different from any other and to

the extent that there has been

a regulatory weakness in our

market place it would be to do

with the lack of proper

disclosure of the extent of

short selling, so that there

have been individual company

dhas have been under a bear

attack by short seller, that is

exposed weaknesses in terms of

the exposure of executive

directors of those handful of

companies and that has led to

growing concerns about our

banking system and so on and

the public has lost confidence

in 2 markets. If we look at

that issue of short selling,

the Government has now

committed to clarifying the law

on disclosure, but is it more a

case that we do have the law.

It's just not being enforced? I

believe that there are some

problems in terms of getting

all of the information that for

example the ASX or ASIC would

need to produce full

transparency to the market and

last Friday the ASX produced a

consultive paper indicating

that they were proposing some

changes that would enable them

to provide more fulsom

disclosure and through that

greater transparency within the

market. But does that mean that

the ASX and ASIC have been

doing their jobs? Well to the

extent that they need

additional powers then clearly

that change needs to occur. To

the extent that they perhaps

could have moved sooner and as

many have suggested means that

once again in terms of the

regulatory cycle, the

regulators are in a reactive

mode responding to losses that

have been suffered rather than

being on the front foot

behaving in a proactive

way. Well indeed both ASIC and

the ASX have issued warnings

about disclosure and rumour

mongering but those warnings

have come after six months of

market turbulence and years

after the explosion in margin

lending? That's true and I

think your reference to margin

lending I think is a good

illustration of the sort of

developments in a market that I

think warrant close

surveillance before problems

occur. So with the explosion of

margin lending over the last

three or four years, I would

like to think that some

regulatory agency has been

monitoring that to ensure that

un sophisticated investors are

not exposing themselves to risk

and entering into contracts whereby they're effectively

signing over their assets to

the lender who in turn signs

over those assets to the

bank. But do you see any sign

that that's happening? I mean

you talk about reactive

regulation, have you seen any

sign of proactive

regulation? Well, when we're

going through a crisis I think

it's inevitable that there's a

need for decisive action to

restore confidence in the

markets because the markets

can't operate without

confidence and trust so it's

entirely understandable that

through circumstances such as

we are living through, that the

regulators here and elsewhere

will need to react. What I'd

like to think is that going

forward there's a realisation

that despite the enormous

resources that are devoted to

regulation and the enormous

compliance costs that flow from

that regulation we still, in my

view, have a suboptimal

regulatory environment in terms

of really protecting investors.

That doesn't mean guaranteeing

that investors can't lose

money, they will. That's part

of risk taking but I would like

to think that we can have a regulatory frame wrrk where we

get more value for the dollar

being spent and the only way of

achieving that is to be

proactive, to be on top of what

evolution's occurring in the

market place without stifling

innovation and monitoring and surveiling those developments

so that they can identify

problems before they lead to

losses that then require a

response. I guess the question

then becomes are the current

regulators, ASX and ASIC, are

they up to the job? You wrote

recently that we need smarter

regulators? Certainly being on

the other end of regulation I

ie having to comply with

regulation, I share the concern

many in the corporate sector

have is that the compliance

burden is quite onerous and

it's very expensive. However I

don't think anyone would argue

that we need less regulation.

What we do need - The question

is what about the quality of

regulators? That's the issue.

Are they up to the job? The

issue, I think, is exactly

that. The dilemma that we have

is that it's very difficult to

attract market savvy people

into the regulatory environment

because the rewards and

opportunities and the

satisfaction elsewhere in the

markets are too great. So for

example in the US the brightest

graduates want to go to Wall Street in Australia they want

to go to somewhere like

Macquarie Bank because the

rewards are so great and so if

The challenge for the

regulators is how do they get

that market savvy either

directly in their organisations

or indirectly in terms of some

sort of interaction with people

in the market place. Is that what Australian regulators

should be doing if they can't

afford them full time, they

should bring in expert

assistance. Are you seeing

evidence of where the lag

effect of the regulatory bodies

are simply because they can't

keep up with what's going on in

the private sector? I think

you've hit the nail on the

head. The markets are increebly

creative and innovative and

they always are going to be

moving forward and the

challenge of the regulators is

to try and keep up with that

and the reality is they will

never be able to keep

completely up with it but as

long as they're not too far behind then they're more

likely, I think, to be on top

of identifying problems before

they lead to significant losses

and if they can't offer an

attractive arrangement to

employ people directly then

identifying, I guess, a panel

of experts where those experts

have got both sufficient

knowledge and to a large extent

are not so conflicted that the

advice that they might give

would not be objective. Could

you get a panel of experts and

indeed if you had one, would it

have meant a better outcome for

those caught up in either Opes

or Tricom? It's hard to say.

It's all difficult to answer a

hypothetical question like that

but certainly to the extent

that margin lending has been a

growth area and perhaps un

sophisticated investors have

been lured into it, ensuring

that investors understand the

risks that they're taking, that

the nature of the contracts are

such that they are sensible

contracts from the point of

view of what they're trying to

achieve, those sorts of things

I think could be identified in

advance. Many thanks for

talking to Lateline

Business. Thank you.

Now a look at tomorrow's

business diary. Spotless Group

is expected to issue a bidders

statement for its hostile

services. takeover offer of maintience

Before we go let's take a look at what's making news in

the business sections of

tomorrow's papers. The 'Age'

says Tricom securities tried to

recover about 40 million shares

from Opes Prime. The Australian

says Tricom has emeshlinged as

an unsecured creddor of Opes. The 'Australian Financial

Review' looks at the rerving bank's decision to keep interest rates on hold. That's

all for tonight. As I leave you

the FTSE is up 72 points or

1.2%, and the Dow futures are

up 87 points or 0.7%. That's

all for tonight. As I said and

we'd love to get your feedback.

Goodnight. Closed Captions by I'm Ali Moore.


This program is not subtitled


in Sydney's north-west, In a bathroom in their home are cleaning against the clock. a mother and her two children have this house clean and tidy We've got two days to get out and to and I've got nowhere to go. and to get out what to do. So, I'm not sure...I'm not sure of families in Australia They're among the tens of thousands by unsustainable debt. being dragged under it's really scary and nervy It's really scary,

and it's just ludicrous. nothing at all. There's nothing there to help - find themselves living in a garage, Before this story is over, they'll

from under them. the house they cherished sold out

we've never seen before. It's lending on a scale

that'll push you into poverty, Over-the-top mortgages on multiple credit cards, punitive interest interest free deals. over the horizon money on credit cards The banks are just handing out like there is no tomorrow. For me it's quite terrifying in Australia - so the average - to think that the average household of their monthly disposable income now has three months on a credit card balance. on more than one occasion I upsold someone to $80,000 for a $20,000 or $30,000 loan. when they only came in And it was my job into taking extra money. to basically talk that person

and the global economy turns, As interest rates bite deep into Debtland, tonight Four Corners takes you a scary place built on easy money. taking out the loans? Why did you keep on Because they keep giving it to us.

Our journey starts here, in Sydney's McMansion belt. Kellyville - big mortgages. Big homes, modest blocks, for this family. It's been a losing formula C'mon, you've had a break. helping me. C'mon. You're doing so well bought the house seven years ago Dianne Davies and her husband Kevin with a mortgage from St George Bank. laying floors, He works as a contractor and he was earning good money. But the work took its toll. worked and worked till he dropped. He was worried and he worked and everything And now they're just gonna take to be honest. that we've worked our butts out for, A combination of industrial illness, and rising rates bad luck, bad management pushed them into default. predatory lenders, They refinanced with second-tier from loan to loan and found themselves being shuffled at ever-rising rates. one at 10% interest, By the end they had two mortgages - a second mortgage at 20% on terms they didn't understand. what they're signing A lot of people don't know really and what they're doing because they don't tell you. what you like to hear. They tell you only we can get you this loan." "Yes, we can save your house, And all you want to do is make sure over your head. you have a home and a roof at that time when you're signing. And that's your thoughts maybe if I get another loan You think, OK, well, or maybe do it up that'll give me time to sell or the market might get better. or do something, you know, was going to the lenders, By the end, nearly all their money of more than $5,000 a month. with mortgage payments kids had to have time off school, A ridiculous amount of money and the like three and four days, the next week and then sometimes for school. because I couldn't feed them That's how bad it was. out of school So you had to keep them to give them because you just had nothing to take for little lunch and lunch? I didn't have butter, That's right. I didn't have bread, I didn't have anything. And we just had no money. to keep our house. We've just put as much as we can All in vain. Now it's crunch-time. If they're not out by the weekend, and change the locks. the bailiffs will turf them out have they got their own beds? I mean, if we go to a shelter I don't know anything. Well, you'll need to ring up. and with two kids, a dog The rental market's tight, and a bad credit history

anywhere to go. they haven't been able to find It's a nightmare, Kev. Oh, it's a nightmare.

get it done and... Just gotta hook in, Hope.

go and pray. Righto, kids, that's your job - Pray. we need this house. Ha, ha. Go pray and tell God to happen. We need something happy or good One thing. Just one. Even. You gonna pray to God for us? What do you reckon, Charlie? hallowed be our name. Yes. Our Father who art in Heaven, Thy name. Thy name. on Earth as it is in heaven. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, She's close. Give us this day our daily bread... I think we've got to acknowledge that that's actually written down on their applications. That is written there, but people trust banks. People trust banks that if the bank says we'll lend you $180,000 then I must be able to afford it. 1,000 kilometres south of Kellyville, the stories of financial pain and suffering are just as harrowing. I had a young guy come to me that had five personal loans, one with the ANZ, one with Commonwealth, one with St George. These are the people who deal with the credit casualties. A total of $104,000 worth of debt. Ah, he was on an income of 48, his income's now down to 36.

He's got a wife and four kids and we went bankrupt. Here in the heart of Melbourne, financial counsellors from across Victoria share intelligence and swap stories. She contacted them and said but I only want $500. I never applied for $2,000 and they said, "No, no, this is what we want to give you.