The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Chris Pearce

Chris Pearce

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

26 October 2004 - 3 December 2007

Media Release of 02/03/2007

NO. 010

PEARCE CONDEMNS LABOR’S UNDERMINING OF ASIC

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Chris Pearce, today slammed Labor’s threat to slash $130 million from ASIC’s budget, the critical corporate watchdog for Australian financial markets.

“If Labor were to get their hands on the purse strings, criminals would have a field day as Labor slash ASIC’s capacity to pursue unlawful activity,” said Mr Pearce.

“Labor has no consistent fiscal policy.  On the one hand we have Mr Tanner implying ASIC is bloated and wasteful and can do without $130 million. On the other hand we have Senator Wong, who has welcomed increases to ASIC funding as recently as mid-2006.  Which Labor spokesperson are we meant to believe this time?,” said Mr Pearce.

“It is remarkable that Mr Rudd would endorse such a contradictory approach to fiscal policy.  Labor’s policy is to maintain our corporate watchdog capabilities, but now Mr Rudd endorses a crippling $130 million reduction to ASIC’s budget.  Mr Rudd has been caught out misunderstanding fiscal matters, yet again,” Mr Pearce said.    

The Government has increased funding for ASIC by 58 per cent above CPI, from $128.1 million in 1995‑96 to a budgeted $265.2 million in 2006‑07, to continue its critical corporate watchdog role.  This investment has been proven to be both timely and beneficial, with a record number of prosecutions that attest to the vital role ASIC plays in monitoring corporate markets. 

Bearing in mind that one of the key drivers for ASIC’s increased funding has been the comprehensive enforcement activities relating to matters such as HIH and James Hardie, Labor’s policy would put at risk essential work of ASIC.

“ASIC perform a vital role ensuring that all shareholders, from sophisticated large investors to mum and dad investors, can have confidence in the integrity of the marketplace.  Labor’s incompetence would decimate ASIC’s capacity to perform that role.  Labor is a menace to the economy and to the financial prosperity of all Australians,” Mr Pearce said.

 2 March 2007

MELBOURNE

Contact:
Conor O'Brien - 02 6277 2088 or 0402 970 515