SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
STEPHEN JONES MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR WHITLAM
MORRISON SMASHES AUSTRALIANS' RIGHT TO HAVE THEIR DAY IN COURT
The Morrison Government has teamed up with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to restrict the ability of ordinary Australians to seek access to justice and sell out Australian farmers.
One Nation’s decision saw Labor’s move to disallow the Morrison Government’s attempt to cripple class actions by regulation defeated on a tied vote.
Litigation funding and class actions provide a vital path to justice for Australians trying to uphold their rights against wealthy defendants with vastly greater resources.
However, in May, the Treasurer used the COVID crisis as cover to issue a regulation that treats plaintiffs in class actions as if they were investors in managed investment schemes.
Labor sought to overturn the regulations because they will make access to justice more expensive for ordinary Australians who have been harmed by misconduct by large companies or governments.
This includes the Australian Farmers’ Fighting Fund which will now be severely restricted as a result of this regulation.
ASIC did not request these powers and does not want them, arguing forcefully to the Australian Law Reform Commission that the managed investment scheme regime “was not conceived with class actions in mind and thus does not operate in a meaningful way when it is applied to class actions”. That view was backed by the Treasury when Scott Morrison was Treasurer.
A comprehensive 12-month review of litigation funding and class actions by the Law Reform Commission considered and specifically rejected these exact measures.
Labor remains prepared to work with the Government on sensible reforms on class actions and litigation funding.
But the objective of any reforms must be to ensure the best possible outcomes for plaintiffs in class actions – not to make it more difficult for Australians to get justice.
WEDNESDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2020