CORRESPONDENCE TO THE COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN 17.01.2019

On 7 November 2018 Victims of Financial Fraud (VOFF) lodged a complaint with The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) about The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority’s (APRA’s) handling of Trio Capital Limited (Trio). Mr Nicolas Crowhurst of AFCA, in letter dated 17 November 2018, advised, “If you have any concerns about the activities of any government agency, such as ASIC or APRA, your best option would be to make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, who has jurisdiction over these types of issues.” 

VOFF sent to the Commonwealth Ombudsman on 17.01.2019:

• Cover letter dated 17.01.2019 – 1 Page

• Three key pieces of evidence 17.01.2019. – 12 Pages.

The three key pieces of recent evidence invites questions and challenges the integrity of previous Trio inquiry findings.

• Ten regulatory failures 17.01.2019. – 6 Pages

The 10 examples of regulatory failures are mainly of ASIC’s failures. VOFF believe ASIC ought to admit liability and the only issue should be the rolling out the quantification of loss and damage to the Trio victims. 

• Failure to investigate white-collar crime 17.01.2019.  – 1 Page

In regards to the issues surrounding age-care, researcher and aged care advocate Sarah Russell made some important observation today. On ABC Radio news and ABC News online, she said, “over the last two decades the Government has responded to all the criticism by making ineffectual changes and then boasting about our rigorous regulation."

Adding that, “data and evidence are lacking in helping to formulate aged care policy.

Because of the Aged Care Act, we don't have transparency around staffing in aged care homes, we as researchers cannot access data about pressure injuries, dehydration, malnutrition, medication issues or falls."[1]

This sounds exactly the same with the Government’s response to criticism about the financial services industry. For example, Prime Minister Mr Scott Morrison made his position clear about bank victims at the Australian British Chamber of Commerce saying, the victims are “complicit” for being too “passive” “Too often we, the customers, have also become complicit in allowing the deck to be stacked against us”, “You can guarantee it—the more passive a customer is, the worse deal they are going to get.”[2]

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, when he was the Minister for Superannuation, he stated in regards to the Trio victims, "I believe in caveat emptor; Latin for "let the buyer beware" meaning you need to take responsibility for your own decisions, if you buy something without doing your homework, well, you're an adult, that's your responsibility."[3]

Seemingly the government's modus operandi appears to be.

Keep a distance from systemic failures. Play the blame card against anyone harmed.

Deny that there was a problem. Don't recognise problems. Quietly introduce legislation to fix problems. Eventually a significantly different regime from the one that failed will emerge.


[1] Caroline Winter Aged care royal commission starting today a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' to speak up 18 Jan 2019

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-18/aged-care-royal-commission-preview/10723552

[2] Citizens Electoral Council of Australia Media Release Thursday, 30 August 2018 and

Malcolm Farr ‘More choice, more competition, more power’: Treasurer Scott Morrison on banking shake-up 3.08.2018

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/banking/more-choice-more-competition-more-power-treasurer-scott-morrison-on-banking-shakeup/news-story/9caafdca9aa92df50c15ffd8490ba770

[3] The Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten's article "Clean-up time for financial advisers" (Telegraph 6 May '11 p34)

VOFF to COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN 17.01.2019.pdf VOFF to COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN 17.01.2019.pdf
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Three key pieces of evidence 17.01.2019.pdf Three key pieces of evidence 17.01.2019.pdf
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