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ASIC escapes grilling after committee reshuffle

Outgoing ASIC chair James Shipton’s first appearance at the parliamentary joint committee on corporations and financial services since the scandal that brought about his demise has been cancelled as a number of prominent members of the committee jump ship.

Mr Shipton and other ASIC executives including deputy chair Karen Chester were scheduled to appear at the committee for an all-day hearing on Friday, as part of regular parliamentary oversight of the corporate watchdog. It has since been removed from the schedule of parliamentary events, with no date set for an alternative hearing.

ASIC said it was “not for us to comment” on the cancellation of the hearing.

Mr Shipton last appeared in Parliament in October, when he announced he would be stepping aside as chair of ASIC after explosive evidence to the House economics committee that the auditor general considered his relocation expenses to be inappropriate, and that the matter had been escalated to the Treasurer after the regulator’s lack of co-operation.

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While an independent review cleared Mr Shipton of wrongdoing, it was announced last month that he would nevertheless be stepping down permanently.

The cancellation of the most recent hearing is believed to be tied to a significant reshuffle of the corporations and financial services committee’s membership, with Liberal senator James Paterson having stepped down as chair this week. Mr Paterson was appointed chair of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security earlier in February.

Coalition MP Andrew Wallace, who is also chair of the standing committee on social policy and legal affairs, has taken over as the committee’s new chair.

In addition, Liberal MPs Jason Falinski and Celia Hammond – who was recently appointed to chair an inquiry into parliamentary workplace practices following allegations of sexual assault by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins – have stepped down from the committee. Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson has also recently departed, to be replaced by his colleague Nick McKim.

ASIC escapes grilling after committee reshuffle
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