Issue No.25 of 2009
Thursday 10 December

Opposition Leader supports stronger regulation of the finance industry.
Have your say.

In the past week or so we’ve seen another RBA rate rise, another round of the banks overshooting the RBA rate mark, and another series of chastisement from the PM and the Treasurer. It’s starting to feel like Groundhog Day.

FSU polling conducted in 2008 revealed that Australians believed the Government were too weak to stand up to big business (69% of Coalition voters and 27% of Labour voters).

What’s odd is the Government’s package to assist the banking industry through the ravages of the Global Financial Crisis could have come with conditions.  Taxpayers were helping, after all.  So why not tell banks it was time to make changes to benefit bank workers and customers.

Despite repeated calls, the Government didn’t take this step, preferring to engage in tough talk rather than tough action.

Interestingly, Coalition leader Tony Abbott is open to the prospect of re-regulating the banks.

The FSU has written to Mr Abbott, welcoming his comments and seeking the opportunity to meet with him. You can read a copy of the letter here.

One of the things we asked for was Coalition support for a proposal currently before the Senate, requiring written consent before consumer’s data is sent off-shore for processing.

It would be a good way to make off-shoring much harder for the banks.  It’ll be interesting to see where Mr Abbott stands on that.

While we await Mr Abbott’s response, the FSU would like to hear from you. If we do have an opportunity to meet with the Opposition Leader, what would you like the union to tell him? What practical suggestions do you have for improving banking, insurance and superannuation in Australia? What initiatives should our politicians adopt so we have a better finance industry?

With an election looming in 2010, the FSU will be in touch with all political parties soon. Here’s your chance to get a message to politicians about your priorities and your ideas.

We invite you to join the debate on our online forum.

 Click here to have your say

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Much Ado about APRA 

In May of this year, APRA released a Discussion Paper which proposed new rules for executive remuneration in the finance sector. The objective was to align remuneration with responsible risk-taking across the finance sector.

After two rounds of submissions, the final Governance Standards were released at the end of November. Far from being a set of rules that would seriously address remuneration matters, the ‘principles-based’ guidelines will only be recommendations. Where a bank or insurance company seeks to be excluded from certain recommendations, APRA has indicated it will be flexible.

The final Governance Standards will help to address some of the worst practices in remuneration-setting, but for the majority of organisations the status quo will continue.  The new Governance Standards will come into effect in April 2010.

 FSU’s second submission can be viewed here.

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Authorised by FSU Acting National Secretary Rod Masson