CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well thanks for coming everybody. I want to congratulate and welcome the appointment of James Shipton as the new Chair of ASIC. This is an appropriate appointment. Mr Shipton possesses a good mix of corporate experience and regulatory experience. His experience as a regulator in Hong Kong will come in as an asset for him in his role as new Chair of ASIC. As well, he's been a thought leader when it comes to regulation in academia over the last few years and of course he will draw on his corporate experience. This is an appropriate and good appointment which Labor welcomes. The Chair of ASIC is an important position. It is appropriate that it receives bipartisan support. I give that bipartisan support to Mr Shipton and wish him well in his stewardship of ASIC and look forward to working with him in the future.
I repeat that the Governments alternative plan would have been inappropriate, it would have been unsustainable and would not have met with the Labor Partys bipartisan support but I'm very pleased, very glad to be able to give Mr Shipton the support of the alternative Government, the Opposition in his important role as the corporate regulator, the chief corporate regulator in Australia.
I am sure he will do and complete the role competently, efficiently and as I said with the support of the Labor Party.
Happy to take any questions.
JOURNALIST: What do you see as his first major role when he takes over in February?
BOWEN: Well of course ASIC has a busy work program, of course ASIC has a number of ongoing projects. He will no doubt inherit those and add his own value as he goes along. He deserves a period of time to familiarise himself with the task at hand. Ill meet with him in due course and Im sure hell brief me on how he sees the role unfolding.
JOURNALIST: Mr Bowen, I assume by alternative plan that the Government had you mean John OSullivan. Hes described Labors attack on him as unprecedented and disturbing. Do you have any concern at all that your intervention in the process has prevented it being open and competitive?
BOWEN: Not at all. This was an inappropriate appointment. This would have been an utterly inappropriate and unsustainable appointment. The Labor Party and I did not make this decision lightly. Weve given bipartisan support to appointments consistently. Even when, maybe, that person wouldnt have been appointed by a Labor Government, weve lent our support.
Now when it comes to Mr OSullivan, he can say that. I mean we took into account a whole range of circumstances, but let me just share with you one email. Just one email, Ill share with you, from Godwin Grech to John OSullivan.
RE fees - what I have in mind is that once Rudd and his hacks sign off on Ford Credit - you and I can change the contract to reflect your preferred fee arrangement and push that through quickly next week. I will not be running it past Henry that is Ken Henry, Secretary of Treasury - and co. Godwin.
That was at 10.02am on the 19th of March 2009. At 10.24am on the same day Mr OSullivan replied Thanks Godwin, sounds sensible.
This was the man who the Government thought should be leading our corporate regulation?
The Labor Party makes no apologies. We are very glad that a good appointment has been made, we welcome it. We welcome Mr Shipton. We congratulate him and we say this is a far better appointment than the alternative which apparently was the Governments preferred option.
Any other questions? Thanks for your time.