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Incoming senator backs FOFA changes

One of the crucial new senators-elect due to join the crossbenches in July has expressed support for the government’s FOFA amendment agenda.

With the Senate Economics Legislation Committee recommending that parliament should pass the government’s Bill amending FOFA, the fate of financial advice regulatory policy is now in the hands of three Palmer United Party senators-elect and three new crossbenchers from the micro-parties.

One of those new crossbenchers, incoming South Australian senator-elect Bob Day of Family First, indicated yesterday that he may be a Coalition ally when the Bill goes to a vote.

“I am generally supportive of the government’s Bill,” Mr Day told ifa, adding that he is a “strong believer in free markets and removing ‘barriers to entry’ to new participants”.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democratic Party senator-elect David Leyonhjelm, also speaking to ifa yesterday, said that while he has been "lobbied on this [issue]" that he has not yet "come to a final position" – indicating there is at least one vote still up for grabs. 

At the recent FPA roadshow in Sydney, FPA chief executive Mark Rantall foretold that while a positive report from the senate committee would be welcome, the real task ahead lies with convincing these crossbenchers.

“This government is really going to struggle to get anything through the Senate – we are seeing this with the Budget as well as the mining tax and carbon tax,” Mr Rantall said. “They will get legislation passed in the House of Reps but when it hits the Senate the brakes go on. You need 39 votes in the Senate to get legislation through, the Coalition has 33.”

Mr Rantall said that while Mr Day and Mr Leyonhjelm have expressed support for a number of Coalition policies, these two senators-elect are likely to “go their own way” on a number of items.

“This is the situation we are facing; these are the people we need to talk to,” Mr Rantall said, adding that the FPA would be embarking on a lobbying effort targeted explaining the “value of financial planning” to these new parliamentarians.