Morrison government green-lights money laundering

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Morrison Government has no intention to follow through with its international commitment to stamp-out money laundering.

The evidence is standing in plain sight.

First, the federal government agreed to implement Tranche 2 anti-money laundering (AML) laws 15 years ago pertaining to real estate gatekeepers, including lawyers, accountants and real estate agents. However, these rules have been been continuously delayed and never implemented (see here for background).

Second, the Morrison Government in December 2020 tightened some business and investment visas, but left the ‘golden ticket’ Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program untouched. This SIV program is a ‘fast-track’ residency scheme that can lead to Australian citizenship, and requires participants to spend $5 million over four years on complying investments in order to receive citizenship.

However, the SIV program has been criticised heavily by the Productivity Commission (PC) as prone to fraud and money laundering, with the PC calling for the program to be axed altogether (see here for background).

Finally, The AFR today reports that the Morrison Government has junked a commitment made in 2016 and again in 2018 to adopt a so-called ‘beneficial ownership register’, a move that would lead to the unmasking of nominee directors. Canada, the US and the UK recently introduced such a register.

Transparency International Australia CEO Serena Lillywhite says adopting a beneficial ownership register would have gone some way towards curbing money laundering, which she says is a big problem in Australia, particularly in the property sector:

“This is one of the biggest loopholes in our corporate register and there is a complete lack of political will to do anything about it,” [Serena Lillywhite] said.

“Money laundering in the property sector and more generally is such a huge problem for Australia and this reform would have gone some way to addressing this issue. Knowing who sits behind the wheel and who the real company beneficiaries are is a fundamental step in tackling money laundering and other corporate misconduct”…

“There is growing international evidence that public registries are powerful tools to fight dirty money and this announcement is monumental for Canada,” said Sasha Caldera, a campaign manager at Publish What You Pay Canada, a civil society group.

Clearly, the Morrison Government is complicit in the dirty money washing through the economy, mostly via Australian homes.

Unconventional Economist


  1. I see this as very similar to Crown. A lot of people knew that they were doing something dodgy but No one cares until some bombshell comes out and then everyone tries to say that they couldn’t have seen it coming. Until then – keep laundering away.

  2. So if 40% of Australians are Corrupt and voting to keep the gravy train running, then that must mean Australias got some major crime waves going on right now.

    Im guessing drug crimes are considered small now. Organised crime and murders probably the new things. As long as drugs buys houses, then ScoMo doesnt mind.

    I can only imagine that at some point, crime will overwhelm Australia.

    So Crime begins with Fraud ( Crimes of Money ) and then it expands outwards to overwhelm all other types of crimes.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      No, Mathias… the vast majority of people are not corrupt. I would instead say the vast majority are poorly-informed, wilfully ignorant, inert / apathetic, shortsighted.

      When the outcome is much the same, perhaps it’s just semantics.

  3. Since the young are missing out & therefore likely to never amount to much in their working lives, thus weighing on productivity & have to rely on welfare for the rest of their lives enabling crime makes perfect sense.
    How good is ScoMo & the LNP!

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      “Clearly, the Morrison Government is complicit in the dirty money washing through the economy, mostly via Australian homes.

      And too many juicy political donations to be had from these new mates?

      • Fleeing instead of being vaccinated? It doesn’t make sense. We’re talking about the super rich, right?

        • my toranaMEMBER

          Exactly, all six of them? Even all 60,000 of them, it still leaves a lot of Indians behind.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Osiris: he lost me at ASX at PE of 80 times. This sort of fear-mongering is appalling. Any self-respecting investment person would not mount this argument. Yes, I read his anticipated criticisms and he still doesn’t get it.

      Prospective (projected) PE is far, far, far more important than 12m trailing PE, and the prospective PE is currently at less than 20 times. On a global basis with interest rates near zero, a sub 20 PE is actually low in my view.

      To give you an example, what if aggregate company earnings had actually gone NEGATIVE for the 12 months during the pandemic… it would mean trailing 12m PEs are infinite…. shock horror.

      Couldn’t bring myself to read his other points (which could well be correct) because his credibility is shot.

  4. “Clearly, the Morrison Government is complicit in the dirty money washing through the economy, mostly via Australian homes.”
    Yep. Given all the levers they have pulled to help inflate property values, at the very least you have to say they are completely and utterly captured. They are probably no longer able to see evil either given their penchant for coaching others what not to tell them (*looks a Gladys). Keep up the good work on this issue Leith.

  5. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    … and this is how the Chinese will turn Australia, which is devolving into yet another corrupt, resource driven “Southern” economy, into a client state. Australia’s political class are greedy and corrupt, and the price to buy them is very low.

    The CCP absolutely know this, and are acting on it. And it ain’t going to be a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. The new boss are a mob of racial supremacists… sure, you could argue the old boss was as well, but the difference is the new boss are of a different race than most of Australia, and are nursing a solid grudge against a number of historical humiliations.

    If Australians had the guts and self-determination of Switzerland, for example, the country would be fine. But you don’t. And you won’t. If you’re super lucky, the US will force Australia to start taking this threat seriously… that might save you. If not, well, it’s just a matter of time until Australia falls completely under the sway of China.

    Time to teach your kids Mandarin. Ha ha ha!