THE “ASIC CAPABILITY REVIEW”
... and “capability” is exactly what ASIC is missing
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
Despite the scathing review, Greg Medcraft's term as ASIC Chairman was actually "extended" by Treasurer Scott Morrison in order for Medcraft to implement a $121 million recovery package Morrison convinced the Banks to pay for. Blimey, that’s like convincing a condemned man to help build the gallows.
ASIC is yet another example of a government Agency that has become lost in perpetuating its own useless existence. Self interested infighting erupts and overtakes its real role in controlling crooks in the commercial sector... in this case the evil banks.
ASIC’s failed case against One.Tel, where it sought $92m in damages and a lifetime banning order against One.Tel directors, cost the Australian taxpayer over $35 million. ASIC spent over $20m on the case with huge costs going to the defendants. The case ran for almost nine years and took up 232 sitting days.
In a blistering judgment, Justice Robert Austin declared that ASIC had, “failed in every aspect of its case”, it “failed to call key witnesses” and it “exaggerated the effect of evidence or misleadingly took passages of evidence out of context”. That’s normal for ASIC.
When I had an altercation with them I didn’t bother engaging a legal team, their claim was so ridiculous, it took me ten minutes before the judge threw their case out the door. They are so ill-prepared and hopelessly incompetent. They have no knowledge of the legal system or how to instruct their counsel.
It lost in costly fashion against AWB boss, Andrew Lindberg, Twiggy Forrest, Opes Prime director Julian Smith with a long list of other directors, like Steve Vizard, receiving a slap on the wrist and a fine.
ASIC has now become court-shy and is dodging cases believing they are on a hiding to nothing. It risks losing more millions and copping a bollocking from Treasury with another budget cut yet, when it finally does win a small case, nobody wants to know about it.
It is a waste of time taking the banks to court with a lousy $121 million because the banks have got the best law firms on retainer and can easily outspend ASIC. No wonder this corporate “cop on the beat” has retreated back to settling intra office spats.
And it’s no wonder the banks agreed to pay up in order to take ASIC on. ASIC is their favourite opponent.
On Wednesday, Morrison’s Press conference was no more than an attempt to blunt Shorten’s promise of an RC into the banks.
PM Turnbull is continuing to paper over the corporate cracks. Throwing more money at ASIC is the worst of all options when ASIC has proved beyond all doubt that it is incapable of carrying out its duties as a corporate cop. Chairman Medcraft’s tenure must not be renewed nor extended and a change of senior management should be made.
Once reformed, ASIC must be given the same default judgment powers as the ATO, or it’s best to abandon it and start again.