On 29 October 2013 the Rule of Law Institute made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Performance of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Our full submission is now available and can also be found on the Inquiry’s website.

The submission makes the following points:

  • ASIC has sufficient powers
  • ASIC has failed to exercise its existing powers
  • ASIC does not investigate big businesses

and the following suggestions that:

  • providing ASIC with greater powers will not resolve current issues
  • a review of the ASIC Act
  • the failure to exercise the powers it currently has gives rise to the issues before the inquiry
  • the ASIC Act should be redrafted to include rule of law principles such as the privilege against self-incrimination, the presumption of innocence, and in a way which reduces the complexity, arbitraryness and uncertainty of the ASIC Act and its administrative application.
  • there is a need for proper legislative protection for whistleblowers and journalists to ensure accountability
  • an avenue for complaints to be deal with if ASIC fails to act promptly
  • the Senate Economics Committee should establish a mechanism for monitoring the failure to answer or lateness in answering questions taken on notice during Budget Estimates
  • breaches of the Legal Services Directions 2005 (Cth) involving ASIC should be reported in the Annual Report of the Attorney-General’s Department