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Government must resolve doubts about regulatory powers.

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

Thursday 30 June, 2005


The Howard Government must act to resolve doubts about the integrity of Australia's corporate regulatory powers, in light of a High Court challenge to their validity, Shadow Minister for Corporate Responsibility Senator Penny Wong said today.

Senator Wong was commenting on a constitutional challenge to the powers of the Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB) to enforce the professional standards of auditors and liquidators.

"The professionalism of auditors and liquidators is of paramount importance to all market participants. Confusion about whether the corporate regulator has the power discipline auditors and liquidators who breach professional standards is untenable," Senator Wong said.

"This kind of shambles is unacceptable for the business community and stakeholders. The Howard Government should be taking immediate action to clarify the situation.

"If the Government's legal advice clearly supports the validity of the regulator's powers, they should make this public. If not, they must promptly legislate to resolve these uncertainties.

"The risk we now face is that the regulator will step back from their strong enforcement role for fear of further challenges to their authority. This would be an undesirable development for confidence in our system of corporate regulation.

“The market and the regulator are entitled to certainty.”

For further information:

• Nathan Fabian 02 6277 5789 or 0412 128 486