I welcome and congratulate the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on the news that a former representative of Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited (CFPL) is before the court.
For several years I have been a vocal critic of ASIC and I sense the 2014 Parliamentary Inquiry into its performance was a watershed moment in that it realized it was seen as virtually incompetent and unwilling to make the hard decisions.
Too many hard working Australians lost their hopes and dreams as ASIC ignored their complaints.
Since then ASIC has been far more proactive in ridding the financial and insolvency industries of people who break the law, and people’s dreams.
Today’s announcement will restore some faith in ASIC’s ability and desire to act against alleged wrongdoing.
I hope it continues.
The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams has described as disgraceful the dumping of the independent wage panel which was scrutinising the treatment of workers employed by 7-Eleven.
Senator Williams said he is astounded that 7-Eleven would even think people would have confidence in a process effectively run within the company rather than an investigation run at arms’ length.
Senator Williams said the joint Fairfax-Four Corners expose of the wages paid to employees of 7-Eleven, headed by Adele Ferguson, shocked the nation.
“Evidence to the Senate inquiry was revealing of how employees were treated.
One said he asked for a pay rise from $10 to $11, and soon after he was fired.
He told the committee that employees were warned if they spoke out they risked being deported.
What happened to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work in this country?
The independent panel headed by the widely-respected Professor Allan Fels had paid around 400 claims averaging $35,000 but many more were under consideration.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, of which I am a member, has completed its inquiry into whether banks deliberately forced small business and commercial customers into default to clean up their loan books. The committee found no evidence that CBA, in its purchase of Bankwest, and ANZ, in its purchase of Landmark, took any action that caused the impairment of loans, but made it clear the banks’ desire to deliver ever-increasing returns to shareholders led to irresponsible lending. Customers were offered high risk credit facilities such as credit cards instead of secured loans, and banks displayed unconscionable conduct in their treatment of customers who were in financial distress. ANZ was proactive in recompensing customers who they believe were treated badly, but the committee said CBA did not display the same consideration and consistently denied there were issues with the way they dealt with customers. There are eleven very good recommendations to government including penalties for receivers who cannot demonstrate they made every effort to sell a property at or near its market value; improving the ethics and standards of valuers; a further inquiry to examine the remuneration of insolvency practitioners; and lenders to review their contentious cases and if they don’t then the independent Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman will review them.
ABC Regional will reinstate livestock sales information to their morning Rural Reports.
At the Senate estimates in February, the Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams queried why the reports had been removed from the breakfast broadcasting schedule earlier in the year.
He said it was a backward step because the farming community in rural areas relied on the ABC to broadcast such information and he had already starting receiving complaints about the decision.
Senator Williams asked ABC management to review it, and today in Senate estimates the new Managing Director Michelle Guthrie confirmed the reports will return in six regional listening areas from next Monday.
Ms Guthrie said as a result of the subsequent investigation that included consultations with Meat and Livestock Australia, the Nationals Farmers Federation and peak farming bodies, selected livestock market reports will return at 6.25am from next Monday.