Treasurer Josh Frydenberg appears to have thrown the most important findings of the banking royal commission under a bus, in glorious double-speak. On Thursday he issued a direction to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission through what is known as a statement of expectations. It is very different from the previous such statement, issued in 2018. This one includes an entirely new clause, placed right at the top. The government expects ASIC to: identify and pursue opportunities to contribute to the government’s economic goals, including supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. ASIC’s description says it is a regulator whose job is to “take whatever action we can, and which is necessary, to enforce and give effect to the law”. From ‘why not litigate’… It’s how the royal commission saw ASIC’s role.
…to ‘why not capitulate’
Rather than “why not litigate,” it reads as “why not capitulate” — justified by the need to identify opportunities to contribute to Australia’s economic recovery.