Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Pollies Missing Target

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Pollies Missing Target

Article excerpt

THE Turnbull Government's Michaelia Cash may eventually be found to have been mortally wounded politically by her uncontrolled response in Senate Estimates this past week which, with the aid of Labor Senator Kim Carr's schoolyard behaviour, continues to frustrate voters who expect better.

But it's hard not to wonder whether the talents of the always incisively prosecutorial Labor Senator Doug Cameron could not have been better applied in assisting his Queensland colleague Senator Murray Watt in his interrogation of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Senator Cameron had, after all, headed the 2014 joint-party Senate inquiry into the construction industry which found it was at the mercy of a ruthless business model which exploited subcontract terms of trade at the expense of the unsecured creditors whose personal credit and labour ultimately finances most building work in this country.

Senator Watt was, however, able to elicit that the national business regulator considered there was no evidence to support prosecution of directors and others involved in the 2013 'collapse' and rebirthing of Walton Construction which cost 1400 subcontractors $87 million in 2013.

Instead it is pursuing "administrative action", a wet lettuce response that at best can see a director suspended from further corporate active for a maximum of five years.

Given the devastation of the Walton collapse which cost people their businesses, homes and the employment they provided, splitting families and leaving once successful small business people camped in their cars on river banks, that is something that at the very least should have occurred some considerable time ago.

Subcontractors remain relentless in their determination to have criminal prosecutions for the fraudulent transfer of assets to defeat creditors pursued not only in the Walton matter but also the 32 other industry collapses since 2014 in Queensland which have cost small businesses more than $385 million.

On March 1, Queensland legislation, which was driven by the Walton collapse, came into effect which seeks to protect subcontractors from the predatory nature of those builders and clients that blight the industry. …

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