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Costello must restore confidence in weakened regulator.



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Media Release

Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Thursday 28 July 2005

COSTELLO MUST RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN WEAKENED REGULATOR

Public confidence in our corporate regulator has been weakened by the Vizard case and Treasurer Peter Costello must now take steps address this situation, Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Corporate Governance and Responsibility, said today.

"The sentence imposed today by Justice Finkelstein amplifies community concerns that the charges sought by ASIC were not adequate.

The judge imposed on Steve Vizard a ten year ban from acting as a company director, twice the length of ban sought by ASIC.

"Justice Finkelstein summed up the problem when he said that cases like Steve Vizard's have the capacity to erode public confidence in business. This in turn undermines the constructive relationship between business and the wider community.

Senator Wong noted that while business leaders are responsible for their own actions, Peter Costello is responsible for public confidence in the corporate regulator.

"The negative perception arising from ASIC's handling of the Vizard case demands that Peter Costello take steps to restore confidence in our system of business regulation.

"Peter Costello should make his DPP advice public, and at the same time clarify why ASIC sought more lenient penalties.

"Most importantly, Peter Costello should explain why he is satisfied with ASIC's approach to enforcement activities.

"The deterrent effect of ASIC's enforcement actions are extremely important and have a lasting impact.

"ASIC must follow clear and consistent principles in which the public have confidence when bringing actions against corporate wrong doers."

For further information: Nathan Fabian - 0412 128 486