Dear Members

The Abbott government has clearly shown where their preferences lie when choosing to mount investigations into banking and economic recommendations for the forthcoming budget. Instead of taking a broad spectrum approach with the appropriate experts they choose to take the very narrow conservative approach using industry players.

The banking inquiry with David Murray as its head and the make up with  financial industry stalwarts will only result in a one sided view heavily tilted in the banking industry's favour.

The Commission of Audit is set up to make hard decisions and recommendations for the upcoming May budget and is  chaired by Tony Shepherd former president of The Business Council of Australia and the head of the commissions secretariat is the BCA's chief economist Peter Crone. Former Howard Minister Amanda Vanstone and three public servants , Peter Boxal an ardent free marketeer who worked as Peter Costello's Chief of Staff, Tony Cole a former Treasury secretary and Robert Fisher an ex bureaucratic heavy.

The  Business Council of Australia is one of the more conservative of Australia's lobby groups with a long standing policy of resisting wage increases, demanding tax breaks for its members and defending every aspect of corporate welfare while condemning much public welfare as wasteful and extravagant.

The Commission of Audit is entrusted in finding ways to trim federal  spending and waste and to help trim federal expenditure.   The problem is many things are off limit already, Health, Defense and Education, the PM's much vaunted Paid Parental Scheme is a no go area, raising the GST is a grey area with pre election promises it wont be touched so the Commissions options are limited to trying to make major savings from a very limited pool of government resources.

To this end I truly believe ASIC, FOS and COSL are vulnerable, yes we do need a corporate watch dog but at present ASIC is haemorrhaging, consumers, business and the media have no faith or confidence in it as it now stands. ASIC should never have established bank friendly EDR's in FOS and COSL and employ the banks lawyers as advisers and consultants.  This is just another kick in the guts to the poor consumer trying to come to terms on how the system works. How to get justice when instead of holding our hands and guiding us through the system they with hold information and let us blindly stumble through while throwing hurdles and obstacles in our path to make our journey even harder.

Even before the Senate hearings commence the evidence against ASIC is damning. Just by reading the Senate submissions you can get an over all picture of how ASIC has been functioning, pro ASIC submissions are usually from other government departments circling their wagons to protect their fellow public service brethren or business's like banks or legal and liquidation firms who profit from ASIC's actions or lack there off.

I hope the Senators conclusions IN FULL are published and not watered down or buried in a cloud of secrecy which is a dangerous path this new government seems to want to pursue.  We need a VERY STRONG REPORT this time, Senators.

Lets hope the Senators recommendations and the Commission of Audits job to trim government expenditure will result in a more trim line regulator where alot of the old deadwood with their old ideas are pensioned off.  ASIC does not warrant nearly half a billion dollars a year to function. Tony Abbott has stated Canberra is top heavy with public servants and there is way too much red tape. Lets face it, the jargon they like to use and their word play is confusing and derogatory.

FOS and COSL can either be disbanded or absorbed back into ASIC, lets put some of these professional public service lawyers back into mainstream real world law, that should save money as well as no longer getting advice from bankster lawyers.

The demise of ASIC as it stands now would be ironic if brought about by economic restraint because the very thing ASIC was supposed to protect and foster and to help make prosper in the end could be the sword that decapitates the beast and finally brings it under control. Thanks Neil T.

ED:  Well said Neil.  Peter Crone signed a very unfortunate letter to me from John Howard as PM in 2005.  Must dig it out.  Reporter John Garnaut SMH wrote a story on that incident in early 2005.  I have a long memory and funny how same names keep jumping out at one.   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.