Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
SloMo scrambling to act on ASIC



Download PDFDownload PDF

CHRIS BOWEN MP SHADOW TREASURER MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

SLOMO SCRAMBLING TO ACT ON ASIC

The Turnbull Government will do anything to avoid a Royal Commission into the financial services industry.

We learn from media reports that the Treasurer is meeting the ASIC Chairman this afternoon to “finalise new funding arrangements”.

Make no mistake, these are ‘crisis’ talks.

Scott Morrison is under enormous pressure to be seen to act following calls for a Royal Commission into the financial services industry by Labor and at least eight members of the Coalition backbench.

But Scott Morrison has kicked an enormous own goal when it comes to the stability, powers and funding of the corporate regulator, ASIC.

Scott Morrison made ASIC the central issue when, in responding to Labor’s proposal for a Royal Commission, he argued that ASIC was better placed to handle a system-wide inquiry, and had the powers of a Royal Commission plus more.

The problem with making ASIC the focus is that this Government has:

 Cut $120 million in funding to ASIC from 2014 onwards which according to the ASIC Chairman has already had an impact on ASIC’s ability to conduct ‘proactive surveillance’;

 Not announced details for the ASIC Chairman position which expires on 12 May 2016 - given that it’s likely the new term of office will commence during the caretaker period, Labor must be consulted on this position; and

 Failed to provide ASIC with the additional powers and penalties recommended in the Financial Systems Inquiry and other inquiries.

The Treasurer was quick to finalise an appointment for the Chair of the ACCC, which commences in September, but has yet to do anything with the ASIC Chair term which expires on 12 May.

Make no mistake: whether crisis talks, or chatter about restoring some funding, or announcing an ASIC Chairman, it is all happening this week because Labor is willing to shine a spotlight on misconduct in the financial services industry.

The Government should drop the charade and the band aids and listen to its own backbenchers - many of whom have extensive experience dealing with victims of financial scandals through their involvement in various parliamentary inquiries - and join Labor in launching a Royal Commission into the financial services sector.

WEDNESDAY, 13 APRIL 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: JAMES CULLEN 0409 719 879