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Government executive pay blunder must be fixed now

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Media Release Senator Mathias Cormann Shadow Assistant Treasurer Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation

12/0403/PK 3 April 2012

Government executive pay blunder must be fixed now

The government must act immediately to fix the problems it has created in its botched changes to executive remuneration laws, which have left over 100 Australian companies at risk of a Board spill.

The change that is required to fix the government's flawed legislation has bi-partisan support and the Coalition would facilitate easy and speedy passage of any standalone Bill or of the Consumer Credit and Corporations Legislation Amendment (Enhancement) Bill 2011 with the payday lending provisions removed.

The government should put the necessary amendments to the Parliament at the first available opportunity.

The government's latest claims in today’s Financial Review that the executive remuneration changes can only be progressed by attaching them to as yet unfinalised payday lending amendments beggars belief.

Indeed, an amendment to fix the government's blunder has been sitting in Parliament since September 2011. Labor has delayed the legislative fix and cannot blame anyone but themselves.

The only reason this necessary fix has not been progressed by the government is because Labor decided to include the amendment in an Omnibus Bill which contains those other underdeveloped, contentious and problematic provisions in relation to payday lending.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, then chaired by the now Parliamentary Secretary Bernie Ripoll, recommended that the government reconsider the ill-thought out payday lending changes put forward by Bill Shorten.

Since then this divided and dysfunctional government has been sitting on its hands unable to make a decision on how to proceed from here.

Despite repeated requests from the Coalition for clarification of its intentions, the government has been unable to tell us on how they intend to proceed with their payday lending proposals.

Instead of sitting on their hands, the government should immediately remove the payday lending provisions from the Bill and present it to Parliament to address the executive remuneration issues or alternatively put the necessary changes to proxy voting arrangements to Parliament through a separate stand alone Bill.

The government should also provide answers now on what its intentions are in relation to the proposed changes to payday lending arrangements to remove the current regulatory uncertainty across that industry.

MEDIA CONTACT: Senator Cormann 0411 874 546