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Let’s be a little bit real

On Sunday, Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer finished her now infamous interview on Insiders with the indignant admonition “Let’s be a little bit real.”

Yes, let’s.

Ms O’Dwyer was trying to sell the line that her government has strengthened the corporate watchdog.

The facts are somewhat different.

The 2014-15 federal budget called for a $120 million dollar funding cut to ASIC over four years, as well as an additional $47 million “efficiency dividend” reduction.

At the time, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steven Ciobo said “The Government thinks that there is scope for the financial services industry, and for all the other industries, to self-regulate more. There will always be (as a general statement of principle) our preference for self-regulation over the need to have a regulator [that is] tax-payer funded intervening in the field.”

Gee that’s worked well.

The following year, the budget cut another $15.8 million from ASIC funding, and they weren’t the only regulatory body to suffer.

In the Coalition’s first three years in office, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission lost 14 per cent of its staff, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 10 per cent of its staff, and the Australian Tax Office 16 per cent of its staff.

According to the Australia Institute, the total staff cut among corporate regulators was 14.9 per cent, about 3900 employees.

Whilst there has since been some restoration of funding, the loss of experienced staff has been devastating.

But not so in the relentless pursuit of unions.

Whilst the other regulators were losing staff hand over fist, the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate staff levels jumped by more than half from 100 to 155.

And now we have the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the Registered Organisations Commission to bolster the attack. In fact, we had the expense of a double dissolution election specifically to establish these union-busting organisations.

As opposed to the “sober” and “careful” consideration that eventually led to a Royal Commission into the financial sector (after they realised that their own members were ready to cross the floor), they immediately launched into Royal Commissions into the unions and the Home Insulation Programme, dragging Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten into the dock in a desperate attempt to smear them personally.

When that didn’t work, we witnessed the debacle of Michaelia Cash’s abortive attempt to get Bill Shorten over a union donation to GetUp! over a decade ago. The decision to tip off the media to police raids is still being investigated.

From the outset, this government has been running a protection racket for corporate malfeasance whilst engaging in a full-scale frontal assault on the collective bargaining capacity of workers and on hard-won workplace entitlements.

That, Ms O’Dwyer, is the reality.


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  1. Egalitarian

    She also stated there had been being 26 years of uninterupted growth. Though it really depends how you measure; it and for whom?

  2. john ocallaghan

    Ms O’Liar has told so many lies over the years that she is now tripping over them every time she opens her mouth!

  3. wam

    o’dwyer, cash, payne and bishop not the best adverts for positive discrimination or best man for the job???
    As mr lord attests truth is reality and truth is what is believed..
    Ergo, her reality is true, as is yours.

  4. Glenn Barry

    Any reality scheduled for delivery to LNP personnel needs to take the form of a suppository, as currently all other sensory faculties and the primary nutrition absorption orifice is otherwise occupied dispensing faeces

  5. Matters Not

    I feel some sympathy for Kelly O’Dwyer. Her appearance on Insiders was not an ambush. Rather it was arranged days in advance with plenty of time to get the spiel right. Plenty of time for the media advisors (hers and the PM’s) to develop a strategy and accompanying script that the whole government could use.

    Kelly became – first the guinea pig – then the sacrificial lamb. Her credibility is now in tatters and will remain so for years to come. Indeed, she may never recover. On the other hand, Turnbull, with the luxury of seeing how that strategy failed, could go to Plan B – a turn about of 180 degrees.

    Kelly was at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong story. Poor Kelly. (Bet the cat took a kicking.)

  6. Kaye Lee

    “I am happy to say I didn’t think a royal commission was going to deliver the results that it has and therefore, yes, I am happy to say I was wrong,” Senator Canavan said


    Waiting to hear “I am happy to say I didn’t think removing carbon pricing was going to deliver the results that it has and therefore, yes, I am happy to say I was wrong”

  7. Oscar

    I’d blame the stockings if I was Kelly MN.

  8. Matters Not


    running a protection racket for …

    Yep, the banks thought they had all bases covered. They pay taxes (unlike the one third of companies operating in Australia who pay zero local tax); they donate to both sides of the political aisle; they recruit political operatives, including ex-Premiers from both major parties; they spend big on advertising, including the sponsorship of major sporting events. But sometimes it all ends in disaster.

    As an aside, I note that:

    Overnight, Australian men were among 11 foreign tourists arrested along with 14 sex workers during a raid on an illegal orgy at a Pattaya hotel. …

    The hotel’s Chinese owner was arrested on suspicion of running a hotel without a licence and hosting obscene events.

    The likely truth is that the Chinese owner (sic – only locals can own property in Thailand) refused to pay for systematic police protection (at several levels) despite a few warnings. Silly. Very silly. The place runs on corruption.

  9. jimhaz

    Has there ever been an example of self-regulation working. I cannot think of any circumstances. Even Uni’s which I suppose could be classed as self-regulating need to be regulated now.

    When they made those cuts to ASIC as far as I am aware they were already in a rather failed state.

    Lets no longer use the phrase “Government of Australia”, instead lets call it what it is – the Plutocracy of Australia.

  10. Oscar

    Maybe Kelly was planning for a walk in park ?

  11. Kaye Lee


    You are so right. Listen to Malcolm’s version of an apology….

    “Politically, all of the commentators are right when they say we would have been right to establish one earlier”

  12. Glenn Barry

    The LNP’s mea culpa’s so far have all been about the detrimental political effects of the delay upon the government – they didn’t even get the plan B script correct – it’s still all about them

  13. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    The “apologies” that have started to follow on from Barbaby Joyce’s “I wuz wrong” have been mealy-mouthed bitter expressions, nothing sincere about this mob – they were caught out and still choose weasel-words over true accounting for their actions.

    In 2014 Tony Abbott neutered ASIC’s budget:

    Key regulators have lashed Abbott ­government budget cuts, saying they will hurt their ability to properly watch over markets and companies.

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said in its annual report that the impact of $120 million in budget cuts over four years would mean its ability to fill its role would be “substantially reduced”.

    While, some of his stupidity has returned to bite the LNP- not nearly enough and, as usual, it is the public who will ultimately pay for the LNP’s complete inability to manage anything remotely fiduciary. – wouldn’t trust ’em with petty cash let alone govern for a nation.

  14. Phil Gorman

    Spot on Kaye.

    We are living in the state of Australis Amnesiencis. No one is supposed to remember the LNP/IPA agenda concerning the deregulation, commodification and privatization of everything, including people.

    John Roskam accidentally summed it up well on Q&A with his “working hard makes you free” remarks. My gut lurched. I do remember “Arbeit Macht Frei” . If you don’t remember I suggest you Google it and look for images.

    Don’t assume the ALP will win the next election. Citizen Murdoch and his mates will do their damnedest to ensure public forgetting so the LNP can keep up the good work.

  15. Kaye Lee


    I had the same immediate reaction. Kim Carr’s throwaway line at IPA Senator James Patterson and Hitler youth also sprang to mind. Perhaps they don’t understand how scary the similarities are? The phrase flowed too easily from Roskam’s lips.

  16. Kronomex

    We must never forget that the LNP lives in a little pocket universe that does not include 90% of the Australian population, except at election time when they have to crack open the door to the peons. And anyway, all together now, 1…2…3…”It’s all Labors fault.”

  17. Zathras

    I’ll always remember Roskram’s appearance on Q&A after Abbott’s electoral victory when he referred to “his” government, meaning the IPA owned the Liberal Party and therefore ran the country.

    I’ve lost track of the IPA wish list that Abbott was working through but note that the sale of the ABC is still part of their agenda.
    What chance will we have of a free and independent media then?

    Perhaps O’Dwyer is hanging out for that “glorious” day.

  18. helvityni

    Why is Murdoch seen by so many as almost all- powerful, god-like…? Can’t Oz citizens think for themselves…?

  19. helvityni

    Matters Not,

    “On the other hand, Turnbull, with the luxury of seeing how that strategy failed, could go to Plan B – a turn about of 180 degrees”

    You are so right, Mal keeps his hands clean by letting the lesser folk, his girls Michaelia and Kelly do the dirty work…They can test the waters…and Mal can keep smirking…

  20. kerri

    So now can we move on to pressuring this inert bunch of clods into the much needed Federal ICAC?

  21. flohri1754

    Just as in the U.S. come November I am hoping for a “new day” to brighten the darkness of the current landscape (and put djt and his cronies in a minority position), I am looking forward to the next election here in Australia. Malcolm T. has been a failure in the PM role … only made to look somewhat less so by the Tony Abbott trainwreck that preceeded it. Still, my vote for the best PM since 1996 goes to Julia Gillard. Especially after reading in the last two months her biography, plus THE GILLARD PROJECT, STALKING JULIA GILLARD and THE ROAD TO RUIN by Savva (despite that author’s attempts to kick J.G. in the process).

  22. Peter F

    The Coalition seems to have gone silent on having Banks represented in the directors of Union Superannuation Funds. Am I correct in this, or are they still trying to bring this in.

  23. babyjewels10

    Seems to me, ASIC and other regulatory bodies have been set up to fail by the Coalition by being defunded. To support their big business mates to get away with ripping us off. That’s how I see it anyway.

  24. jimhaz

    Off topic

    I’ve noticed a bit of silence in regard the VET FEE-HELP extensions that have cost billions – might be a decent subject to research.

    Someone needs to convince me that this was not a big ALP failure.

    I’d love to see a RC into this and more so Howards CES scheme. These are things i would announce in the 6 moths prior to an election.

    In order for the ALP to again start being a political body for the working class, rather than the inane identity politics crowd they really need to start being brave and must be willing to destroy bullshit ticket clipping businesses. (I blame Rudd and his suckhole wife Teresa May for not tackling the CES issue – corruption in my view).

  25. Glenn Barry

    Jimhaz – look at the way the numbers increased under the coalition.

    Pick your information delivery service

    The ALP were not blameless, however the scheme (rort) really took off under the LNP – in many ways it was a complete abject failure of Libertarianism and their privatisation and deregulation mantra

  26. margcal

    helvityniApril 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Why is Murdoch seen by so many as almost all- powerful, god-like…? Can’t Oz citizens think for themselves…?

    Can’t, won’t, don’t – they’re “not interested in politics” and will vote for whoever gets the nod in the headlines of any newspaper or news broadcast that passes their eyes or ears the day before or the morning of an election. And that will be the Liberal Party, from both Murdoch and Faifax owned or linked news sources. Labour is not a shoe-in, in spite of everything

  27. Kaye Lee

    In an excruciating exchange at a Canberra café morning, Coalition minister Kelly O’Dwyer said she would not be drawn on whether she wanted a flat white or a latte.

    Asked again and again what her order was, Ms O’Dwyer said, “Why aren’t you asking Bill Shorten those questions? There is no question I’ve made the right decision in coming to get a this coffee this morning”.

    Over the twenty minute exchange, the barista asked O’Dwyer nearly ten times to just tell him what the f*ck she wanted.

    “I’ve answered your question,” O’Dwyer said.

    “Um, no you haven’t,” the barista replied.

    The exasperated café attendant then said, “Let me try it another way. Would you like a large or a small”.

    “I’m actually obsessed with fixing these types of problems,” O’Dwyer answered.

    At the time of publication no coffee had been ordered.

    Meanwhile, the $6,000 toaster sat idle….

  28. Matters Not

    Kl re the comment: At the time of publication no coffee had been ordered.

    Even worse: To date, no coffee has been delivered.

    Bloody unions will be the death of this country. The evidence abounds. Why – they can’t even anticipate what people might decide …

  29. Glenn Barry

    MN that sort of clairvoyant anticipation is going to require a psychic

  30. Kaye Lee

    This day last year, Peta Credlin was being touted as a replacement for Kelly O’Dwyer.

    “The push to unseat Ms O’Dwyer got new potency when Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin was reported on the weekend as a potential replacement.

    “She speaks very plainly, she’s a very intelligent person, and thus far she hasn’t broken any promises to this electorate and the Australian people,” Mr Hammond said of Ms Credlin.

    Ms Credlin, no ally of Ms O’Dwyer, was slow to dispel the story, saying at first that she had not been “formally approached” to run in Higgins.

    Mr Abbott is facing a possible challenge in his Sydney seat of Warringah and the former Prime Minister’s staunch ally Kevin Andrews will likely face a fight for his safe Victorian seat of Menzies, ironically once touted as a seat fit for Ms Credlin.

    “I think that the suggestion that Kelly O’Dwyer might be challenged by Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, Peter Credlin, might have broader implications which goes like this: that if someone’s going to challenge Tony Abbott’s preselection in Warringah, then there might be a whole bunch of counter challenges against Turnbull supporters,” Stephen Mayne, a one-time Liberal staffer, said.

    “Kroger doesn’t like Kelly O’Dwyer, so there’s a little bit of a feeling that there might be some Kroger involvement here, and of course the old [Tony] Abbott-Peta Credlin forces also don’t like Kelly O’Dwyer, so that may be at play as well.”

  31. Matters Not

    One can be thankful that the Liberal Party doesn’t have factions and that every applicant (or sitting member) is evaluated on his apparent merits. For females, there’s specials rules which will be disclosed only after the selection is made. Privacy is important. (And useful. But only when it’s considered to be of use.) Nothing could be fairer – because we are a Party of equal opportunity.

    Needless to say, Labor is different. No factions. Only merit selections. (But maybe not?)

  32. Kaye Lee

    10 May 2017

    Shorten to Turnbull: What is the punishment for the big banks if they pass on this new tax to customers, and is that the point when he will finally see sense and set up the royal commission of the banks that the Australian people are asking him to do?

    Turnbull says his government’s senior executive registration measures and new penalty system will be a lot more effective than a banking royal commission, which he said would become a lawyers’ picnic.

    “The one-stop-shop will be a recommendation as recommended by Prof Ramsey. We are getting on with the reforms to executive remuneration and regulation so that senior executives who do the wrong thing and don’t act on malfeasance will be out of the business. These are tough measures and we are doing them now …The banks are not scared of a royal commission, sunshine. They have got plenty of lawyers and law firms. They are being held to account and that is what we have done.

  33. Matters Not

    Re : They have got plenty of lawyers and law firms. Indeed they do, and each and everyone is tax deductible.


    The leading Australian law firm embroiled in AMP’s “fees for no service” scandal – the banking royal commission’s biggest bombshell so far – has already won nearly $11 million in government contracts since January.

    … Since the start of the year, based on contracts made public, Clayton Utz won 95 tenders worth a total of $10.96 million to provide legal services to various departments and agencies.

    Check out the table provided and see where Defense spends its apparent unlimited dollars – in part at least. Hilarious.

  34. Kaye Lee

    And where did Julie Bishop and John Howard work before politics? Clayton Utz.

  35. Matters Not

    Perhaps, more figures would add further insights:

    The contracts won by Clayton Utz are worth less than those handed to the big four accounting and consultancy firms KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC.

    Those four firms won about $420.3 million in government work in the 2015-16 financial year, according to Fairfax Media, with KPMG handed 447 contracts worth $158.9 million in total.

    So we have the big four accounting and consultancy firms sucking on the public teat – and boy can they suck and even gulp – but not included in this RC’s Terms of Reference. Now where is Labor on this? (And please don’t tell me that the LNP is worse.)

  36. Kaye Lee

    Apr 13 2018

    Treasury outsources legislation drafting to law firms.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s government is outsourcing the drafting of legislation to some of Australia’s biggest law firms, in a move being described as an experiment in speeding up the democratic process.

    (AFR article is paywalled)

    Leo Dobes, a retired senior public servant and associate professor at the Australian National University, says there are not enough skilled economists left in the public service.

    “There’s a woeful lack of ability and knowledge in that area,” Professor Dobes told the ABC.

    “If you don’t have specialised skills and you use a consultant, how can you know you’re getting value for money?”

  37. LOVO

    MN and Kaye, one wonders if’n the AFP might be parked out the front of your places …. 😅
    One, also wonders, how come the Macquarie Bank never made the short list? …. waves to the AFP 👊

  38. Trun

    LOVO, it’s a safe bet that some of the more insightful AIMN authors/posters here are on government radar. If you’ve noticed any strange happenings in your social media/FB environ recently, eg. anything get ‘disappeared’? . . . wave to Agency X 🙂
    Personally I don’t have a problem with being surveilled, it seems to be good for increasing awareness, you know, what can I be aware of in this moment, what intentions can I sense in this environment?
    Tibetans, as a group, are the most aware people I’ve met and they were grounded in that long before China invaded. Ironically, the Communist interference seems to have had the effect of focusing the Tibetan resolve to be as free. Every cloud.

  39. Arthur Baker

    If Ciobo spent a bit more time concentrating on his job and a bit less time living it large at sporting events (where, he claims, the public love to see him), the arrogant p**c* might start getting a few things right.

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