Senate debates

Tuesday, 4 December 2018


Banking and Financial Services

8:10 pm

Photo of Fraser AnningFraser Anning (Queensland, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

My speech today is about two cases that the banking royal commission should have investigated. The first case is that of the law company of Mr Stewart Levitt. His company acted for the Storm Financial victims and some Bankwest victims. Journalists including Hedley Thomas and Michael West have published stories on this, with one heading being, 'Revealed: CBA's secret deal with Storm victims' lawyer.' In one of these stories, Stewart Levitt has been accused of sleeping with the enemy—the enemy was the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It can be confirmed Stewart Levitt also has more than a dozen complaints against him with the New South Wales Legal Services Commissioner, who have engaged the New South Wales Law Society to investigate. Stewart Levitt was behind an extortion attempt on the CBA by engaging Michael Fraser to harass and stalk the CBA head of settlements bank executive, Mr Brendan French. Hedley Thomas wrote in a story that CBA confirmed that Stewart Levitt was involved—from findings by a metadata expert. From the stories published, it appears that the CBA had a secret deal with Stewart Levitt.

In my view, we will need to have judges from the United Kingdom hear such matters involving lawyers, court officials and others in the legal system, since the UK judges are somewhat removed from our system and know how to send bank fraudsters to jail. We need commissioners to ask questions such as: what precise arrangement did CBA have with Stewart Levitt, and why did CBA agree to pay Stewart Levitt almost $10 million in relation to the Storm Financial matter? There is also a need to question if there was any corruption with other professions. For example, did Stewart Levitt put on a fundraiser for a federal senator on 28 August 2013? What was the reason that CBA hired a security firm, G4S, to spy on Stewart Levitt's fundraiser event?

My second story comes from NAB victim Mr Lynton Freeman. His information has been heard at a Senate inquiry. Mr Freeman alleges Judges Noud and Robin allowed the true facts of NAB receivership on his property to be covered up. For example, Mr Freeman alleges the bank and receivers were assisted by the stock squad not identifying who owned which cattle by the evidence of their brands. Mr Freeman alleges not all of these cattle were returned to their correct owners. Mr Freeman alleges the bank retained the records of the stock accounts, but the receivers failed to produce the dockets in court. Mr Freeman alleges the court charged him with stealing his own cattle.

This matter went to the Court of Appeal in Queensland, presided over by Judge de Jersey. Mr Freeman alleges that the court found initially that the cattle sale documents did not exist, but after the court process the agents just happened to produce them. Mr Freeman alleges that, when the matter went back to court, Judge de Jersey was sidelined on the bench to stop the judge viewing the subpoenaed documents that NAB told him did not exist. Apparently, Judge de Jersey had admitted he had spoken with one of the receivers involved in the case prior to the day of the appeal. Therefore, questions need to be asked, such as: did the receivers and the judge collude? Were there officials complicit in Lynton Freeman's case? How many cattle were sold by the receivers with the wrong ownership documents?

The royal commission has not revealed the Queensland Property Law Act 1974, which has been amended at section 85 to include the mortgagor protection act of 2008, which, in a sense, says the bank is fully responsible for liquidation of properties. This means all the immoral and illegal actions of Queensland receivers and liquidators are a liability of the banks. The royal commission has not investigated how redress for victims should be conducted either.

I conclude with the amusing but ridiculous fact that the Prime Minister says the royal commission would be extended if the commissioner asked for it. However, Rowena Orr, counsel assisting the commissioner, has said to bank victims that the government has to ask them to extend the royal commission first. Don't you love how government decisions are made and authorised?