With the spotlight already hot on industry regulators, The Age’s discovery that they have been “wined, dined and given corporate gifts without scrutiny” cannot have been a welcome one at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The newspaper found that both ASIC and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had received gifts from those they regulated, including vintage wines, dinners, concert dinners, and airline upgrades.
It reported that Macquarie Group was one such party to wine and dine ASIC, and that the ACCC being guests of Energy Australia for dinner less than a year before Scott Morrison commissioned the regulator run an inquiry into the retail electricity industry.
The gifts uncovered by the publication were done so through freedom of information requests and media pressure; while they keep gift and hospitality records, the regulators do not publish them as a matter of course.
Gifts received by ASIC from 2014 – 2017 included a private label Barossa Valley wine from the Bank of China, an Emirates international flight upgrade, and tickets to the Byron Bay Bluesfest. The regulator refused to provide 2018’s gift register.