Turnbull Gives to Banks and Cuts from Its Watchdog

The Turnbull Government has ripped tens of millions of dollars away from the watchdog in charge of making sure the big banks don’t rip off the little guys.

Malcolm Turnbull’s latest budget slashes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s permanent funding from $346 million to $320 million.

The regulator will also lose 30 investigators.

When the Coalition slashed $120 million from ASIC four years ago, the watchdog warned the cuts would mean its ability to fill its role – including monitoring the financial advice industry - would be "substantially reduced".

The repeated scandals emerging from the banking Royal Commission should be proof enough that cutting funding from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is a bad idea for the Australian people.

But when there’s a choice between giving the big banks a $17 billion tax handout or funding the watchdog that keeps them in line, you can always count on Malcolm Turnbull to look after the big end of town.

These cuts also diminish ASIC’s ability to tackle fraudulent phoenix activity.

After the damning revelations of the Banking Royal Commission Scott Morrison claimed "This type of behaviour can attract penalties which include jail time - that's how serious these things are. I'm very reassured by the fact that these matters were already being pursued by ASIC and will continue to be pursued by ASIC… We have given ASIC greater resources.”

These cuts to ASIC show that Scott Morrison is all bark and no bite when it comes to enforcing white collar crime.

Despite the Government’s belated action on phoenixing, they are still yet to introduce the most important regulatory tool – a Director Identification Number – to help them detect and deter this activity.

Malcolm Turnbull either can’t learn from his party’s mistakes on tackling bad behaviour or simply doesn’t care.