HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 10 FEBRUARY 2022
Proxy firms advise on issues such as executive pay, director appointments or corporate social responsibility. They've done important work holding firms to account on excessive CEO pay, the use of JobKeeper to pay executive bonuses and Rio Tinto’s destruction of ancient Aboriginal artworks in the Juukan Gorge.
And yet on the Friday before Christmas, the Treasurer rushed out draconian measures that were designed to attack proxy advisors.
That included a fine of $11 million for forgetting to send an email. It was an attack on investors, and appropriately criticised by the Australian Financial Review and the Australian Shareholders Association.
This morning, those draconian regulations were defeated in the Senate by a resounding vote of 29 to 25. That is a defeat for Treasurer Frydenberg and his underhanded attempt to undermine the proxy advisors. It is a defeat for Arnold Bloch Leibler, the firm that pays the Treasurer’s pro bono legal bills and has campaigned against the transparency that proxy advisors bring.
It is a victory for shareholder capitalism, for transparency, and for small business in Australia.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra