Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Corporate regulator bombs out again

They get a few wins when people fold in fear of the legal costs but the poor quality of their decisions to prosecute often shows up when businesses put up a fight.  They were clearly wrong on this one and prosecuted on the basis of a mere surmise.  A list of their past stuff-ups (Fortescue, OneTel, Centro etc) is here  They are just arrogant and careless bureaucrats with no regard to the harm they do or the costs that they generate

An asset stripping case against former Westpoint officers Norman Carey and Graeme Rundle has spectacularly collapsed after the surprise emergence of a key document two weeks into the trial.

The document could prove the innocence of the property entrepreneurs.

Mr Carey, whose property investment business Westpoint failed in 2006 owing investors more than $388 million, tonight told Business Day he would sue the Commonwealth over the aborted trial with his legal costs at least $500,000 and his reputation damaged.

‘‘This has hung over my head for the last five years and I’ve always maintained that I acted honestly,’’ Mr Carey told Business Day.

‘‘I will definitely be suing ASIC to get back my cost and damages, what ASIC are facing is effectively wrongfully accusing someone.’’

In a brief statement released last night ASIC said it had located an important document from a third party which ended its case against Mr Carey and Mr Rundle in the District Court of Western Australia.

‘‘In accordance with ASIC’s procedural fairness obligations, ASIC immediately disclosed the document and copies were given to Mr Carey and Mr Rundle, and the court.’’

The failed case centred around the allegation that Mr Rundle and his business Westpoint dishonestly backdated the transfer of an option to buy Perth’s Warnbro Fair Shopping Centre knowing that the company was battling to survive.

It is believed the document is a detailed file from auditor KPMG which proves the option to buy the shopping centre was extended, and therefore the transfer was not backdated as alleged.

A media spokesman for ASIC last night said the regulator would not comment further on the failed case against the duo.

‘‘Following an assessment of the document in the context of the prosecution’s case, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday advised the District Court of Western Australia that the case should proceed no further and filed notices of discontinuance,’’ an ASIC statement said.

This allowed property spruiker Mr Carey to walk free from the Perth District Court Tuesday after the withdrawal the asset stripping charge against the former Westpoint boss and his deputy Mr Rundle.


State Government to pass laws for drought-hit farmers to feed cattle in some National Parks

THE State Government will rush legislation through Parliament next week. Drought-hit graziers will be given access to 4400sq km - five existing parks and a further eight properties bought for the public estate.

Acting Premier Jeff Seeney said the worsening drought called for action.  "This is a part of a range of drought-relieving measures the Newman Government will put together over the coming weeks and months, as we do everything possible to help those affected," he said.

Agforce chief executive Charles Burke said the move might help save the lives of 25,000 head of cattle.

The move has stunned the conservation movement, with Wildlife Queensland chief executive Des Boyland saying it was outrageous and yet another broken promise.

"Only last week the National Parks Association got an email from (National Parks Minister) Steve Dickson's office saying there will be no grazing in national parks," Mr Boyland said.

"I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise, in view of the fact that this government is hell-bent on destroying hard-fought conservation gains."

Mr Dickson said the changes would see emergency hardship grazing authorities issued over land which had been selected on the basis of its previous grazing history and proximity to suffering properties.

"These arrangements are limited to only a select number of properties and national park land will only be available for graziers suffering from drought or wildfire and will only stay in place for a limited time to assist with the current crisis," he said.

The Nature Conservation Act will be amended so the eight properties bought with Federal Government funds will be grazed.

Moorrinya, Forest Den, Blackbraes, Nairana and Mazeppa national parks will become agistment paddocks until at least the end of 2013.


Boswell: What’s the price of marine parks propaganda?

Queensland Senator Ron Boswell has called on Environment Minister Tony Burke to detail the costs of a Labor Government “propaganda film” about its looming marine parks.

“At the same time as Treasurer Wayne Swan is likely to announce a huge multi-billion-dollar deficit in the Budget, Tony Burke has launched a completely unnecessary propaganda video,” Senator Boswell said.

“It is eight minutes of pretty pictures and mostly foreign luminaries trying to justify shutting the Coral Sea and huge swathes of ocean round the rest of Australia to fishing.

“It is absolutely nothing but propaganda. It is a platform for Minister Burke to urge people to support the Government’s marine parks decision, which is opposed by millions of recreational and commercial fishers and other people in coastal communities.

“Imposition of the new marine parks by Labor will take the overall size of Commonwealth marine parks to 3.1 million sq km, by far the largest in the world, in fact a third of the total area of marine reserves across the globe. “

Senator Boswell said the video is a “shameless waste of money” produced simply as propaganda to try to generate support for the Government.

“Labor is sending the country broke and this glossy propaganda exercise is just another Government waste of money. Come on, Mr Burke, fess up and tell Australian taxpayers what this propaganda film has cost them.”

Via email

"Fair go" fear-mongering flies in the face of facts

Instead of getting his government’s fiscal house in order, Treasurer Wayne Swan is fanning fears that the fair go is under threat. He has even called the 14 September general election a ‘referendum on the fair go.’

As my new report A Fair Go: Fact or Fiction? shows, Swan’s fair go fear-mongering is unfounded: Australians from even the poorest and least educated families are entering the ranks of the nation’s wealthiest and best educated.

Approximately 12% of sons born into the poorest 20% of families become part of the wealthiest 20% of the population as adults, and almost a third of the children of fathers who stayed at school until Year 10 or below gain university qualifications.

Just as humble beginnings are no barrier to success in Australia, a privileged background is not a substitute for ambition and ability.

Not only do 17% of sons born into the wealthiest 20% of families fall into the poorest 20% of the population as adults, but slightly more than a fifth of the children of university-educated fathers only complete Year 12 or less.

This massive movement both up and down the socioeconomic hierarchy makes our meritocratic society one of the most socially mobile in the industrialised world.

Approximately 41% of the children of parents who did not complete high school pursue tertiary education, putting Australia almost 10 percentage points ahead of its closest OECD competitor, and more than 20 percentage points ahead of the OECD average.

The earnings advantage enjoyed by the children of wealthy fathers is also only slightly higher in Australia than that of the social democratic Nordic countries, and approximately half the rate of the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

Clearly, Swan’s doom and gloom is out of touch with the evidence: Australia remains a fair go success story.

The experience of millions of Australians – from battlers who have come good to affluent first-generation migrants who arrived with little more than drive and raw talent – shows that the fair go remains the defining feature of contemporary Australia.


No comments: