Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

The Finance Sector Union has slammed a plan to "embed" financial regulatory agency officers inside the Big Four banks and the financial management giant AMP. The FSU says that officers from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which has been criticised for being “too close to the banks”, would be unable to penetrate the unethical internal culture of the banks.

While federal Treasurer Scott Morrison was spruiking low and middle income families as the “winners” in the federal budget, unnoticed among the biggest “losers” was the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

The owner of a Queensland tour company that underpaid its workers has been jailed by the Federal Court in a contempt of court case brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). It was the first time a boss had been jailed as a result of action by the FWO.

Some of Australia’s most respected investigative journalists have signed an open letter to the federal government urging it not to privatise the corporate registry held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). They have urged the government to make access to the database free, as it is in New Zealand and Britain.

The revelations from the Panama papers continue to reverberate around the world. While the Australian angle has so far been a bit anticlimactic, it did kick off a discussion about the banking sector and tax havens.

Bill Shorten, in an uncharacteristic display of spinal-cord solidification, seized the initiative and announced that the Labor Party would conduct a Royal Commission into the banking industry if elected.

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