Top lawyers warn ASIC against hasty moves

Original article by Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 33 : 23-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently indicated that the federal government aims to pass 40 pieces of legislation in response to the Hayne royal commission’s recommendations by the end of 2020. It wants 90 per cent of relevant legislation to be implemented by mid-2020. However, corporate lawyers have stated that problems could arise if the government and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission persist with their "ambitious deadlines" for implementing the commission’s recommendations.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Government flags heavy-handed crackdown on black economy

Original article by Mike Bruce
The New Daily – Page: Online : 21-Aug-19

Gary Pflugrath of CPA Australia says the federal government should reconsider proposed legislation to restrict cash payments between businesses and individuals to no more than $10,000. It was one of the recommendations of the government’s Black Economy Taskforce, but Pflugrath contends that there are sufficient "checks and balances" to counter criminal activity. Kurt Wallace from the Institute of Public Affairs says restricting cash payments would have little impact on the cash economy, while reducing the freedoms of ordinary Australians. Individuals could face big fines and imprisonment for breaching the proposed laws.

CORPORATES
CPA AUSTRALIA, INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS LIMITED, H&R BLOCK LIMITED, ONE NATION PARTY, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

Insurers to be barred from using unfair contracts in new legislation

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 31-Jul-19

Labor is expected to support the Coalition’s proposal to subject insurers to the same rules with regard to unfair contract terms as other financial services providers. The final report of the Hayne royal commission recommended abolishing the exemption, which arose because insurers are regulated by the Insurance Contracts Act. In contrast, rules on unfair contract terms are covered by the ASIC Act. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has also made a number of recommendations for changes to the regulatory regime for insurers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Senate crossbench jury out on union bashing bills

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 30-Jul-19

The federal government needs the support of Senate crossbenchers to pass its Ensuring Integrity Bill. Cory Bernardi has indicated that he will support it, leaving the government to get three more votes. One Nation, Centre Alliance and Jacquie Lambie have five votes between them, but they are all are undecided at the moment. Both One Nation and Centre Alliance have indicated that they would like to see the legislation amended so that it is more in harmony with corporate law, although the government is of the opinion that this is already the case. The bill has been referred to a Senate committee and will not be debated until October.

CORPORATES
ONE NATION PARTY, CENTRE ALLIANCE, ACTU, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS

It is time we all acted on the unions’ lawlessness

Original article by James Pearson
The Australian – Page: 14 : 26-Jul-19

The Ensuring Integrity Bill aims to make registered organisations accountable for their actions in the same way as banks and corporations are held to account for their wrongdoings. The proposed legislation will apply equally to unions and employers’ associations, yet the former oppose it and the latter support it. This raises the question of why unions are reluctant to be held to account. Registered organisations and the individuals who run them enjoy special rights and privileges, and the bill will help to restore public confidence in them.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, BUILDERS’ LABOURERS’ FEDERATION

Transfer of money from workers’ fund theft of wages

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 25-Jul-19

Attorney-General Christian Porter says transferring money from workers’ entitlement funds to unions or employers’ groups is no more acceptable than the underpayment of staff. The federal government’s Workers Benefit Bill aims to crack down on such practices, with Porter citing examples such as the transfer of money from the Protect fund to the Electrical Trades Union. He says this occurred "for no reason". The Protect fund is jointly run by the ETU and the National Electrical Contractors Association.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION, THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS’ ASSOCIATION, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Lambie piles pressure on Setka to quit CFMEU

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 25-Jul-19

The federal government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill is slated to be put before the Senate later in 2019. Independent senator Jacqui Lambie has indicated that she may be prepared to vote for the bill if John Setka does not step down as the Victorian secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union. Lambie has raised her concerns about Setka with ACTU president Michele O’Neil. The government has amended the bill in response to concerns raised by Labor, but Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick believes that further changes are needed.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, ACTU, CENTRE ALLIANCE, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA. REGISTERED ORGANISATIONS COMMISSION, ONE NATION PARTY

CFMEU slapped with $65m in penalties

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 24-Jul-19

The federal government has released data showing that the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime & ­Energy Union has incurred about $65m worth of legal costs and court fines for breaching workplace laws since 2004. This includes court penalties totalling $28.6m in Victoria, with the bulk of these penalties having been incurred in cases involving controversial state secretary John Setka. The government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill will be put before the lower house on 24 July, and is aimed at making it easier to deregister unions and other registered organisations.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

Showdown brewing over union ban laws

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 23-Jul-19

ACTU president Michele O’Neill has expressed concern that a key provision of the federal government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill could be misused. It allows any party with a vested interest to apply to the Federal Court to have a union official disqualified. O’Neill warns that this provision could be exploited in order to remove union officials for relatively minor breaches. Attorney-General Christian Porter has downplayed such concerns, arguing that the bill is consistent with Australia’s international obligations.

CORPORATES
ACTU, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

PM to Senate: no deals on drought aid

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 4 : 22-Jul-19

The federal government will table its bill for a future drought fund in the Senate on 22 July; it was passed by the House of Representatives in 2018 but was not put to a vote in the Senate. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the bill will not be changed in any form to satisfy the demands of Labor or crossbenchers; he adds that drought funding should be a "no-brainer" and not something on which deals need to be done. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese claims that the government’s proposed legislation would see money taken from the Building Australia Fund.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY