Telstra fined $50m for unconscionable sales

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 25 : 27-Nov-20

Telstra has agreed to pay a $50 million penalty over the sale of mobile phone plans to 108 Indigenous consumers between 2016 and 2018. The sales were made at five Telstra stores in Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stating the sales were made despite the telco knowing that the Indigenous consumers did not understand the product and could not afford it. The ACCC has described Telstra’s action as "unconscionable", while it noted the customers had been left with average debts of $7,400.

CORPORATES
TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

CFMEU slugged $486k for blockade

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 3-Mar-20

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has been fined $404,500 for organising an unlawful blockade at the Barangaroo project in Sydney. The Federal Circuit has also ordered five current and former union officials to pay fines ranging from $7,500 to $22,500. The industrial action was aimed at forcing concreting firm De Martin & Gasparini to sign an enterprise agreement. The CFMMEU and its officials have now been fined $9.62m in total since the Australian Building & Construction Commission was reinstated in 2016.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA, DE MARTIN AND GASPARINI PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

Westpac slapped with $9m penalty over poor advice

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 20-Dec-19

Westpac has been ordered to pay a total of $9.15m for 22 breaches of the Corporations Act. The bank was found to be liable for the ‘deficient and defective’ financial advice that ex-employee Sudhir Sinha provided in 2013 and 2014. Sinha was deemed to have failed to act in the best interests of his clients by providing financial advice that was inappropriate for their personal circumstances. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has banned Sinha from working in the industry for five years, while it launched legal action against Westpac in 2018.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

$1bn scandal hits Westpac

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 1 & 8 : 21-Nov-19

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says banks must "lift their game" in the wake of revelations that Westpac has been charged with more 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. Amongst other things, Austrac’s statement of claim alleges that Westpac failed to conduct due diligence on 12 customers linked to child exploitation in the Philippines. Brett Le Mesurier of Shaw & Partners says Westpac may face a larger penalty than the Commonwealth Bank’s record $700m fine in 2018 for more than 53,000 breaches of financial crime laws. Westpac could potentially incur fines in excess of $1bn.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

CFMEU branded a serial offender

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 15-Oct-19

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union and Victorian shop steward Kevin Pattinson have been fined $69,000 in total for preventing an apprentice and an electrician from working on a Melbourne construction site. The court was told that Pattinson had barred the two workers from the site because they were not members of the CFMMEU. The Federal Court’s Justice John Snaden noted that the union is a "serial ­offender" with regard to its lack of compliance with workplace laws.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

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

At $200k, celebrity chef got off lightly

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 22-Jul-19

Attorney-General Christian Porter says that amongst other things, the federal government’s review of the industrial relations system will look at whether the penalties for underpaying wages are sufficient. He says many Australians would agree with his opinion that the $200,000 fine to be paid by celebrity chef George Calombaris was lenient. More than 500 employees at Calombaris’s restaurants were collectively underpaid some $7.8 million over six years. The ‘MasterChef’ judge says the majority have now received backpay.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Union fines hit $4m as boss put workers ‘in harm’s way’

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 7-Jun-19

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has been fined $137,000 over the conduct of Richard Hassett, the head of its Tasmanian branch. The Federal Court ruled that he had unlawfully entered a Devonport building site and repeatedly attempted to disrupt the operation of a crane. Hassett was fined $22,000, while the CFMMEU has now been fined $4.1m in total for breaching workplace laws so far in 2018-19.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

KPMG urges refund plan for black economy fines

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 3-Jan-19

KPMG’s submission to a Treasury review has proposed that individuals who have previously engaged in black economy activity could have part of their fine refunded if they have a proven track record of complying with tax laws. The firm suggested that individuals would be more likely to continue to comply with tax laws under such a system, and they could qualify for a refund after three years with a clean slate. The black economy is estimated to be worth up to $50bn a year.

CORPORATES
KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Union beats $51k fine for shorts call

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 8 : 14-Nov-18

The Federal Circuit Court’s decision to fine the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union’s for failing to comply with a dress code for workers on a building site has been overturned on appeal. The CFMMEU was fined $51,000 over strike action after a project manager ordered construction workers to wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts at the Newcastle site. Union organiser Pomare Auimatagi was fined $7,500. The Federal Court has ruled that the fines were "manifestly excessive".

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA, JOHN HOLLAND PTY LTD