Monday, 26 October 2020
Questions without Notice
Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Opposition members interjecting—
I made clear on 22 October I received detailed correspondence from the Auditor-General of Australia regarding payments made on behalf of the ASIC chair, Mr James Shipton, and deputy chair, Daniel Crennan QC. This letter followed an email received from the Australian National Audit Office on 15 September saying, and I quote, 'The Auditor-General—'
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
The Treasurer might pause for a second. The member for Rankin has asked his question. I'm not going to keep warning the member for Rankin. I need to listen to the answer, and if that means him not being here to listen to the answer then that's what's going to happen. The Treasurer has the call.
'will be writing to you separately under section 26 of the Auditor-General Act, concerning payments made to key management personnel. The ANAO is currently working with ASIC on key management personnel disclosures to be included in the annual report, and we will write to you once the process has concluded.'
As Treasury confirmed to Senate estimates this morning, their advice has been consistent throughout that I should await the letter from the Auditor-General, after which they would provide advice. I accepted that advice. Following receipt of the letter from the Auditor-General on 22 October, I received advice from Treasury later that day recommending that I direct the secretary of the Treasury to appoint an independent reviewer to undertake an independent review into the findings of the ANAO financial statements audit.
The independent review will be undertaken by Dr Vivienne Thom, the former Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, and is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Following the review, Treasury will advise me on its findings and any further course of action that may be appropriate. The email from the ANAO on 15 September, the letter from the Auditor-General on 22 October, the two letters from the ASIC chair to me, both dated 16 October, relating to the concerns raised by the ANAO, as well as my three letters to the chair and the deputy chair of ASIC and the Auditor-General, have all been tabled at my request this morning at estimates.
The chairman of ASIC, Mr James Shipton, notified me last Friday, 23 October, that he was standing aside while the review was being undertaken. This morning the deputy chairman, Daniel Crennan QC, provided me with written notice of his resignation effective immediately. ASIC performs a vital role as Australia's corporate financial services and market regulator. The Auditor-General has raised important matters, which the government is acting on.