Watchdog backs delay of Hayne banking reforms

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 16 : 29-May-20

Some of the recommendations arising from the Hayne royal commission were slated to be implemented in July. Australian Securities & Investments Commission chairman James Shipton has expressed support for the federal government’s decision to delay these reforms until the end of 2020, given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on banks and the domestic economy. Shipton has also told a Senate committee that ASIC is watching out for fraudulent activity such as phoenix companies and attempts to scam people out of their superannuation savings via the early access scheme.

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AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Pell knew of Catholic Church abuse for decades – royal commission

Original article by
The New Daily – Page: Online : 8-May-20

Redacted sections of the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were released on 7 May, in the wake of the High Court’s decision to overturn Cardinal George Pell’s child sexual abuse convictions in April. The report indicates that the commission did not believe Pell when he claimed that Catholic Church officials had deceived and lied to him about Gerald Ridsdale – Australia’s most prolific paedophile priest – and Melbourne parish priest Peter Searson; the commission heard that the latter had abused children in parishes and schools for over 10 years. The redacted findings indicate that the commission believed that Pell was aware of sexual abuse by Catholic priests as far back as 1973. Cardinal Pell says the views of the Commission are not based on evidence.

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AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSES TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, CATHOLIC CHURCH

Bushfires freed two years’ worth of CO2

Original article by Graham Lloyd
The Australian – Page: 7 : 21-Apr-20

The Bushfires Royal Commission has been told that the 2019-20 bushfires released 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the extra emissions will not be counted towards Australia’s 2020 Kyoto and 2030 Paris emission reduction targets, as it is assumed that the CO2 will be reabsorbed by trees as they regrow. The federal Environment Department has told the royal commission that 96 per cent of emissions from the 2002-03 Canberra bushfires have been reabsorbed, while the amount of CO2 released by the 2019-20 bushfires was almost double Australia’s annual emissions from energy, industry and transportation.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

Royal commission begins into harrowing black summer of bushfires

Original article by Bellinda Kontominas
The New Daily – Page: Online : 17-Apr-20

The royal commission into Australia’s deadly 2019/20 bushfire season has been formally opened via an online hearing on 16 April. The commission has already held 17 community forums in bushfire-affected areas, but all future hearings will be conducted online, due to the impact of COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions. Thirty-three people lost their lives during the fires, while over 10 million hectares were burnt, and 3,000 homes and 7,000 outbuildings were destroyed. The commission hopes to release its findings before the start of the next bushfire season.

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Practical focus for fire inquiry

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Rachel Baxendale, David Ross, Sarah Elks, Yoni Bashan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 21-Feb-20

The federal government has released the terms of reference for its bushfires royal commission, which will be headed by former defence force chief Mark Binskin. The six-month inquiry’s focus will be on natural disaster management and improving Australia’s resilience to natural disasters. Labor and the Greens have criticised the government for excluding policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the inquiry’s terms of reference.

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

Fire inquiry accepts climate link: Morrison

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 6-Feb-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has advised that former defence force chief Mark Binskin will head the federal government’s bushfires royal commission. Morrison says the inquiry will proceed on the basis that climate change is real and contributed to the scale and severity of the bushfires. National Party leader Michael McCormack says that while human activity has contributed to climate change, it is the role of scientists to determine the extent of this. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in turn has pointed to arson as one of the causes of the bushfires.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS

Hayne casualties in limbo a year after the inquiry

Original article by James Frost, Aleks Vickovich, James Eyers, Sally Patten
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 10 : 31-Jan-20

Terry McMaster claims the Hayne royal commission, which handed down its final report in February 2019, was a waste of time and money. McMaster, the former head of Dover Financial, is the only person to be convicted as a direct consequence of the commission thus far. A number of high-profile executives left the financial services sector after appearing before the commission, or being implicated in evidence presented to it; only a small number of those individuals have returned to corporate life. One witness has stated they felt they were abandoned by their company after appearing before the commission, while some hold the view that women wore the burden of the commission disproportionately to men.

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DOVER FINANCIAL ADVISERS PTY LTD, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

NSW will follow ‘experts’, not Morrison: Premier

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 16-Jan-20

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has reiterated that the state will undertake its own review of the bushfire season. However, she adds that it will be open to participating in the federal government’s proposed royal commission. Berejiklian has also stressed that the state’s policy on hazard reduction burns is based on advice from experts rather than politicians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested that a federal inquiry could look at issues such as state governments’ preparedness for the bushfire season, including hazard reduction burns.

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NEW SOUTH WALES. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, UNITED FIREFIGHTERS’ UNION OF AUSTRALIA

State review not in conflict with PM’s

Original article by Rachel Baxendale
The Australian – Page: 4 : 15-Jan-20

The Victorian government has advised that its bushfires inquiry will be headed by Tony Pearce, the state’s Inspector General for Emergency Management. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says this inquiry will have no impact on the federal government’s plans for a bushfires royal commission, stating that he had always expected the states to undertake their own bushfire reviews. Premier Daniel Andrews says he recently held talks with Morrison with regard to the proposed federal inquiry.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

PM courts states for fire inquiry

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 10-Jan-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has emphasised that a national inquiry into the bushfire crisis will only go ahead if it has the support of state governments. He has also told Coalition MPs that it could take the form of a royal commission or a judicial inquiry. Meanwhile, some Liberal backbenchers contend that the Coalition will need to revise its climate change policy in the wake of the bushfire disaster. Morrison has defended the government’s record on climate change, stating that carbon emissions have fallen by 50 million tonnes a year on average since the Coalition took office in 2013.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY