Massive lapses in governance and judgement forced auditor-general Grant Hehir to refer the matter of ASIC chair James Shipton’s remuneration to Treasury.
Speaking to the joint committee on corporations and financial services, Mr Hehir said ASIC didn’t take action on the payments when they were brought to its attention and that their processes “weren’t adequate”.
“I didn’t feel it was being escalated within the organisation as significantly as I thought it should be…some of the issues being brought to our attention should have rung alarm bells within the organisation, and I didn’t feel that was happening fast enough,” Mr Hehir said.
When questioned on why that didn’t happen, Mr Hehir said that “there may have been issues of governance involved” and said that documents showed there were “substantial issues” around Mr Shipton’s use of KPMG’s services.
ASIC’s management failed to provide assurances that it had provided “all relevant information” to the audit before handing over additional documents after the ANAO’s audit ended.
“To some extent, when we’re doing audits, we rely on management to give us everything that’s available in order to provide an appropriate opinion and in this case, receiving additional evidence after the close of the audit, I didn’t think was appropriate governance,” Mr Hehir said.
Later, Mr Hehir said that it was the first time he’d written a letter to the Treasurer to enforce compliance in more than five years in the job after the ANAO “wasn’t getting enough traction” as was thought appropriate for such a serious issue.