Straya: Strong on terror…unless you buy a house

By Leith van Onselen

The New Zealand Government continues to forge ahead with the second tranche of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations capturing real estate agents, accountants, lawyers, and other non-financial businesses, promising to pass legislation by July 2017. From

[Justice Minister Amy Adams] said extending the anti-money laundering laws will tighten the net around financial criminals and bolster crime-fighting efforts…

“I announced in mid-2015 that we had kicked off the early stages of work on the next phase of AML to include other professions, such as lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents. It’s my intention to fast-track these reforms and introduce a Bill to Parliament later this year, which I aim to pass by July 2017, with implementation to follow as soon as practically feasible,” said Adams…

Now compare the New Zealand Government’s approach to Australia’s.

The Australia Government first agreed to implement the second tranche of AML regulations in 2003. Yet 13 years later, these have been delayed indefinitely by the government.

This indefinite delay comes despite the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last year releasing a scathing report highlighting that Australian residential property is a haven for international money laundering, particularly from China, and recommending that Australia implement counter-measures to ensure that real estate agents, lawyers and accountants facilitating real estate transactions are captured by the regulatory net.

FATF’s findings were then backed-up by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), which warned that “laundering of illicit funds through real estate is an established money laundering method in Australia”.

And just last month, the Statutory Review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 was released, which among other things called for the extension of AML to non-financial gatekeepers like real estate agents, lawyers and accountants.

Does the Australian Government seriously want us to become the South Pacific’s sole money laundering paradise, whereby dirty money continues to be washed through our homes? Because that’s where we are heading if the Government does not follow New Zealand’s lead.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist


  1. Obviously a key pillar in rebalancing our economy. It’s our new comparative advantage!!! / sarc off

  2. As noted in the Comments Section:
    “Lawyers, accountants and real estate agents are already covered by the (Financial Transactions Reporting) Act, under the same definition as Banks. They just happen to have been granted a “transitional” exemption. Technically, the exemption could simply be removed.”

    • Wow, what the hell? I’d love to see a backtrace on that exemption to find out who, exactly, was behind it.

      • No idea, but we can guess! Further, the commentator (**) goes on:
        “lawyers, accountants and real estate agents have little, and some cases no, idea even about their existing anti-money laundering obligations under the FTR Act”
        {(**) About the commentator = Worked for many years as a lawyer and has been researching for a doctorate, specifically on policy effectiveness, and on the ML vulnerabilities of lawyers, accountants and real estate agents.}

  3. As it’s one of the mechanisms for keeping house prices afloat, then yes, no government will do a thing about it.

  4. I recall the United States invaded Panama in part due to that’s country’s blind eye toward money laundering. The US has set the precedent
    China in the future for Australia?

    • The invasion was because the puppet Manuel Noriega did to much product and went off the reservation. Panama has been a tax haven / offshore loot parking lot since corporatists were running things way back, it intensified after the Cuba thingy. Pretty much the same with Iraq.

      Disheveled Marsupial… sorta like the mob… once you take a bite… they own you….

    • The USA needs FA excuse to invade & destroy any Country that won’t bow in obedience. Bastards!

  5. wasabinatorMEMBER

    It’s going to be even more tricky as these terrorists will be able to obtain guardian visa’s due to their wives education from 1st July.

  6. Seems like NZ is rightfully ranked better than AUS on the corruption index.

    And AUS is rightfully ranked worse than Canada and Britain on the same index.

  7. fitzroyMEMBER

    Money laundering is Government and Opposition policy. (The Greens as well, Adam is my local member and he would not answer my emails on the issue.)

  8. It was sickening watching Turnbull talk about asylum seekers last night on Q&A. They pay people smugglers $5k, blah blah blah. What Turnbull should have said is they need another $5 million so that the Australian Govt can smuggle them into the country under the Significant Investor Visa program.