Greens pressuring the Australian government to tighten AML laws
The Australian Government has been accused of being hypocritical as Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and others have all been calling out for Westpac to be held accountable for the 23 million breaches of AML/CTF laws when they are not holding themselves to account.
Anthony Quinn, CEO of Arctic Intelligence, a software business specialising in audit, risk and compliance software relating to financial crime prevention said “The Australian Government should rightly be calling for accountability for systemic breaches of Australia’s AML/CTF laws, but it is a very hypocritical stance given that the Australian Government has done next to nothing to expand AML laws to gatekeepers like lawyers, accountants and real-estate agents, when there is clear evidence that Australian businesses are being used to launder criminal proceeds”.
This is backed up by the Australian Green’s Party who, fed up with the lack of action by consecutive Liberal and Labour Government’s over the last 13 years and who have continuously capitulated to lobbying by lawyers, accountants and real estate agents to be exempt from AML/CTF laws and have now indicated that they are considering introducing a private member’s bill to extend the laws to these gatekeeper sectors.
The first phase of AML/CTF Act was introduced in 2006 and impacts approximately 14,700 entities in Australia, however, the second phase, so called Tranche 2, is expected to impact up to another 100,000 businesses across the country.
Australia’s failure to enact Trache 2 could now invoke an international black mark. Two weeks ago, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) suspended the follow-up mutual evaluation mid-way through an examination of Australia’s progress in the area. FATF previously had announced that Australia was non-compliant or partially compliant with 14 of the 40 FATF recommendations. The FATF has for years criticised Australia’s anti-money laundering laws for not requiring lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and high-value dealers to implement AML Programs and to report suspicious transactions to AUSTRAC.
Quinn added “Since the last visit by the Financial Action Task Force in 2015, by our estimates less than 10% of the actions the Australian Government committed to have actually been implemented making Australia highly vulnerable to criminal exploitation. Australia has been given a lucky short-term reprieve with the postponement of FATF’s follow-up visit scheduled for last month, so the Australian Government only has a short-window to save face and make up for their international recalcitrance”.