Spotlight on small businesses Michael Hodge QC, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission, said that during this fortnight of hearings the Commission will seek information to answer three questions: What responsible lending obligations should apply to loans to small businesses? When would a bank taking action against a default on a small business loan be […]
The multinational Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has identified the missile involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as being of Russian origin. On its path from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam, Flight MH17 was struck by a missile on 17 July 2014 while over eastern Ukraine, just 50 kilometres from the Ukraine-Russia border. All […]
A federal judge in New York ruled on Thursday (local time) that US President Donald Trump blocking critics on Twitter is unconstitutional because it violates the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling was handed down by US district judge, Naomi Riece Buchwald, and came in response […]
Image credit: Sky News Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson is now the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of concealing child sexual abuse after he was found guilty by a New South Wales court on Tuesday. The 67-year-old was accused of covering up abuse by priest Jim Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region in […]
Professor David Goodall, Australia’s oldest scientist at 104 years of age, held a press conference in the Swiss city of Basel to discuss his plans to end his life through a voluntary assisted suicide program in Switzerland. The end of life clinic has approved Professor Goodall’s application, following an assessment of the Professor’s mindset on […]
Four federal MPs have announced their resignation following the High Court’s determination that Senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible for election to Parliament due to her dual citizenship status. The ruling against the Labor Senator was made because she did not renounce her British citizenship before the nomination deadline for the 2016 federal election. MPs Rebekha […]
Two separate class actions have been launched against AMP, ahead of the financial services company’s annual general meeting on Thursday. The actions are being instituted on behalf of aggrieved shareholders, in response to the damaging revelations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Current and former shareholders can […]
Image credit: Getty Images Cardinal George Pell will stand trial for multiple historical sexual offence charges, following a Magistrate’s decision in Melbourne this morning. Cardinal Pell has pleaded not guilty to any of the charges, strenuously denying all of them. While Magistrate Belinda Wallington has committed Cardinal Pell to face some charges, many, including the […]
AMP chairwoman Catherine Brenner has stepped down amid allegations of misconduct by the company’s staff, sparked by evidence presented at the banking royal commission. In addition to Ms Brenner’s resignation, a statement issued by AMP says directors will take a 25% pay cut until 2019 as a result of the commission’s findings. It is still […]
Senior counsel Rowena Orr QC gave her closing statement to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Friday afternoon. Ms Orr summarised the hearings: “Over the last two weeks the Commission has heard evidence of misconduct, and of conduct falling below community standards and expectations in relation to […]
Image credit: Brendan McDermid (Reuters) Bill Cosby has been found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault after 14 hours of deliberation in court on Thursday. A jury of seven men and five women reached a unanimous guilty verdict that could see Mr Cosby, aged 80, serving up to 10 years imprisonment […]
Danish inventor, Peter Madsen, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his submarine in 2017. The court found Mr Madsen, 47, guilty for the premediated murder and sexual assault of Ms Wall, 30. Ms Wall’s remains were found dismembered by Danish police at sea on 21 August 2017, […]
The Financial Planning Association (FPA), which regulates financial planners, appears to have put the interests of their members above the interests of their members’ clients, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Thursday. This follows testimony from Fair Work Commissioner Donna McKenna on Tuesday, during which Ms […]
ANZ’s head of wealth solutions and partnerships Kieran Forde appeared before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Monday afternoon to answer questions about five financial advisors who are accused of fraud, misappropriation, and misleading or deceiving customers. An ANZ financial advisor known as “Mr A” advised his […]
NAB did not report instances of financial advisers falsifying documents to either the corporate regulator or Financial Planning Association, allowing employees who were terminated for misconduct to find work elsewhere, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Tuesday morning. NAB senior executive Andrew Hagger resumed his evidence […]
ANZ had a leaderboard that displayed the revenue generated by financial planners, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard today. After asking why ANZ needed financial law reform to “to tell it to emphasise the best interests of the client over the growth of the business”, senior counsel […]
Story of the week ‘Disturbing’ revelations from Banking Royal Commission hearings This week showed a marked change in the nature of the hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. While previous hearings have uncovered relatively minor misconduct coupled with incompetent levels of oversight, this week’s hearings have […]
The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Thursday that deceased customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) were being charged fees for services they did not receive. Court Financial, a subsidiary of CBA, charged these fees despite being aware that the customer had died — in […]
It has been a busy and revealing two days of hearings for the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. On Tuesday the Royal Commission heard that AMP was deliberately charging customers fees without actually providing any services, and had told the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that these […]
Finance company Esanda, a former subsidiary of ANZ but now owned by the Macquarie Group, suffered from rife misconduct and fraud, the Royal Commission into Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Thursday. Car dealers have been pushing up interest rates for customers in order to secure commissions, […]
ANZ charged customers a total of at least $90 million in interest and fees on their home loans after experiencing continued processing errors, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Wednesday. Sarah Mary Stubbings, ANZ’s head of home loan product, told the commission that $75 million has […]
The Commonwealth Bank incorrectly assessed for overdrafts following a technical problem that was undetected for over four years, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Tuesday. The attention of the Royal Commission moved from fraud and misconduct of bankers and brokers to errors and incompetence in the banking […]
The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry continued its hearings on Monday. Under questioning from Rowena Orr QC, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission, ANZ general manager of home loans and retail lending Will Ranken admitted that the bank did not take any meaningful steps to verify borrowers’ living expenses. Under the National Consumer […]
On Thursday, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) executive general manager for home buying Daniel Huggins appeared before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, which began its third day of public hearings. Mr Huggins testified that commission payments made by banks to mortgage brokers can create a conflict interest: […]
On Tuesday the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (popularly referred to as the “Royal Commission into Banking”) held its first hearings. Witnesses who appeared before the Royal Commission were Karen Cox of the Financial Rights Legal Centre (a consumer advocate), and Anthony Waldron, an executive general manager of National […]
After every significant shooting in the United States the gun control debate inevitably resurfaces, and comparisons are drawn between Australia and the United States. While some change may be necessary in the US, this is not an appropriate comparison, and importing Australian laws to the US may not be as effective there as those laws have […]
Photo credit: Australian Associated Press. The issue of marriage equality has finally been resolved in Australia, after the federal Parliament passed legislation on Tuesday to allow two people to marry regardless of their sex or gender. After four days of debates and discussion of many proposed amendments, the House of Representatives voted in favour of […]
Regardless of your own faith or beliefs, there is no denying that religion has been a major influence on human societies since the beginning of time and continues to be to this day. Religion continues to dictate the foods people eat, the choices they make, and how they spend their free time. Ultimately, how one […]
The result of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey was in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, and it now falls to Parliament to enact the required legislation. Senator Dean Smith’s Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 has long been the preferred option of most politicians, and on the afternoon the result of the […]
Photo credit: Australian Associated Press. After a highly emotional public debate riddled by misinformation and forced justification, the Australian people have voted ‘Yes’ to legalise same-sex marriage. The ABS announced on Wednesday morning 61.6% of eligble voters ticked ‘Yes’ in the non-binding, non-compulsory $122 million postal survey, with 38.4% of voters ticking ‘No’. Photo credit: […]
Photo credit: Alex Proimos (Flickr) — CC BY 2.0 licence The long awaited High Court judgement on the so-called “Citizenship Seven” has disqualified Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Senators Fiona Nash and Malcolm Roberts, and former Senators Scott Ludlum and Larissa Waters from Parliament. Senators Nick Xenophon and Matthew Canavan have not been disqualified. A by-election […]
Photo credit: Adam Roberts (website) Mass shootings in the United States are inevitably accompanied by fierce political debate about gun control, and the Las Vegas Strip Shooting has been no exception. Seemingly before the bodies were even cold, spokespeople from both sides of the debate popped up on television arguing for more restrictions or fewer […]
Now that the High Court prepares to hear cases concerning the dual citizenship status of seven current and former parliamentarians, it is important to reflect on the reasons why section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution exists. What exactly is it meant to prevent? Is it doing its job?
Australia stands almost alone in the Anglosphere in its lack of marriage equality, with only Northern Ireland to keep it company. Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, most of the United Kingdom, and the United States have all achieved marriage equality over the past decade-and-a-half, through a variety of judicial and legislative mechanisms. Australia is […]
There were a few initial hints that the turnout would be as massive as it turned out to be — the snatches of overheard conversation on the train into Town Hall, the mass of people a full thirty-five minutes early crowding the narrow construction bollards and milling around in the square near St. Andrew’s, selling […]
Photo credit: StockSnap (Pixabay) — CC0 public domain dedication The High Court has dismissed the challenges to the same-sex marriage (SSM) postal survey. The ruling means that the postal survey will go ahead as planned, with ballots being mailed out from Tuesday 12 September 2017. The challenges were made by SSM advocates, Independent MP Andrew […]
In 1953 the Council of Europe adopted the European Convention on Human Rights, establishing a regional system to protect human rights in its member states, complete with domestic and regional courts to enforce it. Regional systems have also developed in the Americas through the Organisation of American States, and through the African Union. This leaves Asia and the Pacific as the only region without a human rights system.
The recent spate of referrals to the High Court about dual citizenship has put quite a few political careers on the line, and has made for some pretty interesting news in the meantime. But can we expect things to get resolved anytime soon? Not likely — at least not before the High Court starts considering cases in October. Either way, the path forward on the citizenship issue is rocky, and is a bit different for each House of Parliament.
In Part 1, we had a look at the definition of free speech according to two United Nations instruments, and some common principles that give rise to exceptions for it. In this article, we’ll be looking in more detail at how this applies to a country — namely Australia — and then how everything changes once you jump online.
Here in Australia, we consider ourselves quite ‘lucky’. I can put pretty much what I like on Facebook, and know that police won’t be showing up at my door. Unless I start posting about bombs, or assassination, or terrorism, perhaps – but even then, it depends on the context. I could be talking about water bombs, the mafia card game, and Counterstrike.