An independent inquiry into the golf club scandal has found “no evidence” that Australian taxpayers were improperly reimbursed for the costs of managing the scandal.
Key points:The independent panel, which includes former federal treasurer and NSW Liberal MP Bob Katter, also found the Federal Government’s response to the scandal was “overwhelmingly inadequate”The Federal Government has now agreed to repay more than $1 billion to people who lost their moneyThe panel also said it was not yet certain how much money would be repaid and the Federal Treasurer has since said he expects the money to be repaid.
The Independent Panel Against Corruption (IPAC) has found there was no evidence the Federal government’s response was “overswhelmingly” inadequate, and that it should have been more proactive in managing the crisis.
“The committee is also unable to identify any significant actions or decisions by the Government to improve the response to this crisis,” it said in its report released today.
“As a result, it is difficult to conclude whether the Government is undertaking any further steps to address this serious problem.”
It also found there had been “significant mismanagement and abuse” by the Australian Government in the days and weeks after the scandal broke out.
“There was no effort to identify potential risks to the public interest and the public’s confidence in the financial institutions,” it wrote.
“While there were efforts to mitigate the risks to public confidence, there was little effort to understand the extent of the risks or to prevent them from escalating.”
The panel said it had spoken to more than 20 people, including former federal Treasury Secretary John McParland, former Treasurer Joe Hockey, former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, former Minister for Business, Innovation and Employment Andrew Robb, former Labor Treasurer Chris Bowen and former NSW Treasurer Andrew Leigh.
It also interviewed former NSW and Victorian Treasurer and now ABC News commentator Chris Bowen, who resigned from the ABC in February.
The committee found there were three different responses to the crisis:The first was for the Commonwealth to step in and provide some financial support to those affected, but there was not sufficient detail provided to determine what this meant.
The second was for an investigation to be launched by ASIC to find out what happened to the money that had been used to cover up the scandal, but that was not launched.
And the third was for a more extensive inquiry by the ASIC to determine if any offences had been committed.IPAC’s chairman, independent MP Bob Kerns, said in a statement the committee had reached a conclusion that the “Federal Government failed to take the necessary steps to prevent the financial crisis, or to adequately recover losses.”
“This is despite the fact that the Commonwealth’s actions were inadequate to the extent that the public and businesses alike lost money, and despite a lack of information about how much taxpayers were reimbursed,” Mr Kerns said.
“I can only conclude that, as with other Commonwealths, the Government’s lack of responsiveness to the banking crisis has cost taxpayers, particularly those affected by the crisis, considerable money.”
He said the inquiry found that the Government “did not take the appropriate measures to identify, assess or mitigate risk” and that “it was not appropriate for the Federal Parliament to determine the extent to which the Commonwealth was responsible for the crisis.”
“The failure to conduct an investigation into the financial sector crisis, the lack of adequate information about the risks involved and the lack on-the-ground support for the investigation has been widely reported and widely criticised,” he said.
Topics:business-economics-and-finance,government-and_politics,finance-and/or-federal-government,sri-lanka,australiaContact Adam McEwenMore stories from New South Wales