Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law
3 December 2007 - 8 June 2009
ANU House Canberra
Friday, 17 April 2009
SUBJECTS: MINCO (Ministerial Council for Corporations) meeting today; crackdown on bikie gang members being company directors; states to report back on suggested reforms.
Firstly, we are looking at the Corporations Act (re directors) to see if anything needs to be changed to outlaw bike gang members from becoming directors of companies in Australia.
Secondly, when credit licensing takes place in Australia, that licensing process will ensure that bikie gangs are prevented from participating in provision of financial services.
How are you going to word the provision? Anyone with a Harley Davidson can't be a company director?
I am confident that we can word the provision after receipt of information from the states and that we can exclude members of bike gangs from holding company director positions in Australia.
The ability to engage in illegal activities such as money laundering are not going to take place under a corporate veil.
Certainly with respect to the second area, credit, the vigorous registration and licensing process (under the new national regulatory regime for consumer credit) will ensure they will not be able to participate in those financial services.
What is it about being a member of a bikie gang that means you can't be a director of a company and fulfil directors' duties?
A number of states, particularly NSW, have identified areas of concern and have legislated. I am confident that we will be able to reflect the details of their legislation in Commonwealth law and under the Corporations Act.
In terms of consumer credit you are dealing with areas such as payday lending.
Well loan sharking is an unlicensed form of credit provision in Australia and I do note that in the US there are particular problems with it and with illegal activity.
What we aim to do is where the states have identified issues in legislation and concerns about bikie gangs....
There have been a range of concerns identified about bikie gangs in Australia and we will ensure that their ability to engage in those illegal activities are not going to take place.
We will finalise the extent of the changes when the states report back on the specific areas they are concerned about.
How long will it take?
We have set a tight timeframe for the states to report back..May 15. I hope that any identified reforms are passed ...certainly this year.