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Wrong way, Go back. Government must pull ASIC Bill in light of RC revelations

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Media Release // Senator Peter Whish-Wilson

Wrong way, Go back. Government must pull ASIC Bill in light of RC revelations

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has called on the Government to pull their Bill that would expand the responsibility of ASIC, in light of the revelations today from the Banking Royal Commission that ASIC negotiated a $300,000 payment with CommInsure instead of giving them a multi-million dollar fine.

“The Royal Commission is bringing to light serious and fundamental issues with ASIC’s approach and the structure of financial regulation.

“The Government must immediately withdraw the Enhancing ASIC's Capabilities Bill that would expand ASIC’s remit into competition. This Bill could come to a vote today and to vote on it now would be completely irresponsible.

“The Royal Commission has shown that ASIC is not feared by the industry. And why would it be? The regulator and regulated discussing how they should tell the public what measly fine they’ve just worked out together for criminal breaches of the law.

“The Productivity Commission have said that the ACCC should be the competition champion for financial services. The Bill before the Senate does the exact opposite, it expands the role of ASIC into competition policy in banking, which is totally the wrong direction we need to head.

“The Greens have called for the ACCC to be appointed the primary conduct regulator across the entire industry. This move has received support from the inaugural Chair of the ACCC, Allan Fels, and former ASIC Chief Economist, Alex Erskine,” he concluded.

Media contact:

Tim Beshara 0409164603

Bill details:

Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing ASIC's Capabilities) Bill 2018

Schedule 1 of the Bill inserts the following into the ASIC Act under ‘Objects’ (i.e. purpose):

Without limiting subsection (2), ASIC must consider the effects that the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers will have on competition in the financial system.

This is in direct contradiction with the recent Productivity Commission report:

No publication date: received by the Parl Library 13/09/2018


To address gaps in the regulatory architecture related to lack of effective consideration of competitive outcomes in financial markets, the ACCC should be given a mandate by the Australian Government to champion competition in the financial system, including in decisions taken by regulators that have or may have the outcome of restricting competition.

The idea that ACCC should be the primary conduct regulator (competition and consumer) has widespread support: - Allan Fels - Ian Harper - Alex Erskine, former ASIC Chief Economist. - Andy Schmulow - Pamela Hanrahan, who is currently advising the RC.

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Whish-Wilson. Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600

No publication date: received by the Parl Library 13/09/2018