The New Daily’s Michael Pascoe has lashed the Morrison Government for flat out refusing to take action against billions of dollars worth of dirty money being laundered through Australia’s property market:
The Morrison government’s reluctance to reduce and prevent corruption, to shine light in dark places, is not limited to its rejection of a genuine federal integrity commission – it’s also running dead on disclosing corrupt foreign money being invested and laundered here…
Transparency International’s 2017 Doors Wide Open report on corruption in the real estate market found Australia had “severe deficiencies” and was “not in line with any of the commitments to tackle corruption and money laundering in real estate made in international forums”.
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In particular, Australia was fingered for exempting real estate agents, lawyers and accountants from anti-money laundering requirements.
There was no requirement for these gatekeepers to report “even if they suspect illegal activity is taking place”.
Transparency’s Knocking on Kleptocrats’ Doors report in December found nothing had changed…
“This makes Australia a go-to destination for money laundering in the property market, especially for the proceeds of corruption in the Asia-Pacific region”…
In April, Transparency’s Australian chief executive said she had been told by Treasury that the government had no appetite for this commitment and was not open to pursuing it…
It is yet another symptom of the bigger problem for Australian democracy – the ability of powerful lobbies and donors to call the shots, to get what they want from government rather than what is right and best for the nation.
MB has highlighted the anti-money laundering (AML) issue for years.
In a nutshell, Australia promised in 2006 to implement global “tranch-2” AML rules for real estate gatekeepers (e.g. real estate agents, lawyers and accountants).
Despite conducting stakeholder consultations on these AML rules in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017, the federal government each time postponed implementation following lobbying from the vested interests negatively impacted by reforms.
This has left Australia with the weakest AML laws in the developed world, making our property market the go-to haven for dirty money.
The whole farce shows the corruptive hold that the property industry has over our political system.
The big question is: will Labor implement the tranche-2 AML rules if it wins the federal election? It too backed down last time it was in office.