Serious financial crime taskforce abolished

Today the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has confirmed that the government will end funding for the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce from July next year – right after the expected completion of the Banking Royal Commission.

MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

CLARE O’NEIL MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
MEMBER FOR HOTHAM

 

SERIOUS FINANCIAL CRIME TASKFORCE ABOLISHED

 

Today the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has confirmed that the government will end funding for the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce from July next year – right after the expected completion of the Banking Royal Commission.

 

This is extraordinary.

 

The Banking Royal Commission – which the government resisted for more than a year – has uncovered serious misconduct and potential criminal conduct in the financial services sector. It is expected that a number of recommendations for prosecution will emerge from the Royal Commission’s final report.

 

That’s why Labor announced a $25 million boost to the Commonwealth Prosecutor in our Budget Reply – because we need to make sure corporate criminals are brought to justice and the prosecutor has the resources to do so.

 

It is astonishing that the government sees fit to abolish the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce just when it may be needed the most.

 

The Taskforce, which was a coalition of the CDPP, AFP, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and other agencies, had a broad remit to target the most serious financial crimes.

 

Just two months ago, the government boasted of its work in smashing “Australia’s biggest tax fraud”. The CDPP confirmed just today that the Taskforce has 22 ongoing matters.

 

This revelation comes on top of confirmation that the government is cutting a staggering $205 million from the Australian Federal Police and $26 million from ASIC over the forwards, and 4,000 staff from the Australian Taxation Office since the Abbott government came to office.

 

The government has chosen to prioritise $80 billion in tax cuts for the big banks over combatting serious financial crime and saving the jobs of our police and enforcement agencies.

 

This is a government which is staggeringly out of touch and has its priorities all wrong.

 

THURSDAY, 24 MAY 2018