Bill's Media Releases

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S WEAKENING OF CONSUMER PROTECTIONS REJECTED

 


 

The Abbott Government has failed in its bid to water down consumer protections for investors seeking financial advice, with the Senate tonight fundamentally rejecting the weakening Labor’s Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) laws.

 

This is a monumental defeat for the Abbott Government and its determination to give the big banks a boost at the expense of consumers.

 

Today’s vote in the Senate is a victory for common sense, consumers and thousands of victims of dodgy financial advice – and it’s a stinging rebuke to the Government which continues to try to sneak around the Senate to pass its unpopular policies.

 

The disallowance is a major embarrassment for the acting Assistant Treasurer, Mathias Cormann.  It’s also a reminder of the need for the Prime Minister to appoint a full-time Assistant Treasurer who has the time to give his or her full attention to these serious matters.

 

The Abbott Government ignored serious community concerns by doing a dirty deal with Clive Palmer to sneak through changes that would have destroyed consumer protections in financial advice.

 

It is simply unbelievable that the Abbott Government remains so determined to reduce these critical protections, especially after so many Australians have fallen victim to dodgy financial advice in scandals involving Storm Financial, TimberCorp, the Commonwealth Financial Planning, Trio and Westpoint.

 

The Opposition remains extremely concerned that despite tens of thousands of investors losing their money, the Abbott Government remains determined to weaken – rather than tighten - consumer protections.

 

The Government’s regulations remove essential consumer protections by watering down the Best Interests Duty, removing the Opt -In Requirement and allowing for the return of previously banned forms of conflicted remuneration.

 

The Liberals’ changes come at a time when scandals involving inappropriate advice and behaviour, has reduced consumer confidence in the financial advice industry.

 

Today should be a wake-up call for the Prime Minister – when will he finally get the message that his changes to FOFA laws have failed?

 

Labor’s FoFA reforms ensured a strong, fair and efficient financial advice sector with strong safeguards in place.  After today’s failure in the Parliament the Government must give up on its efforts to unwind these important reforms.

 

Labor will always stand for ensuring important consumer protections. We will of course work with the Parliament to ensure that these laws remain effective into the future.

 

WEDNESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2014

 

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