Backing the ute into the ASIC chairmanship

So far as Outsider can recall it is a long time since one side of politics publicly hit the reject button on a putative appointment to the chairmanship of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Generally speaking, the niceties of such appointments entail some of the staffers surrounding the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, actually gleaning from the office of the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen, how the Australian Labor Party might feel about the candidacy of particular people.

Why? Because appointees to such positions have to be able to work with both sides of politics – something which 
usually serves to preclude those who are obvious political appointees.

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At the time of writing, Outsider had noticed nothing official from Morrison’s office regarding its intended appointment of former Credit Suisser, John O’Sullivan, to replace Greg Medcraft as chair of ASIC, but that did not stop Bowen and his colleague, Katy Gallagher, leaving the Treasurer in no doubt as to their views.

“On 24 June this year, in response to earlier reports that this appointment was receiving serious consideration by the Turnbull Government, Federal Labor provided a clear warning on appointing such a partisan figure linked to the Utegate affair which clearly tainted Malcolm Turnbull, to such an important economic institution.”

“There were emails released as part of the investigations into the Utegate affair which showed contact between Mr O’Sullivan, then chairman of Credit Suisse’s Australian investment banking operations, and disgraced Treasury official Godwin Grech,” the statement said. “Mr

O’Sullivan has been a Liberal Party member in Mr Turnbull’s electorate, a President of the Liberal Party’s Wentworth federal electoral conference and previously donated to Mr Turnbull’s Wentworth Forum.”

Given the timetable for the next Federal Election and the state of the polls, Outsider wonders whether the Government is considering another 18-month appointment to the ASIC role.

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