Brain explosion over, ASIC sale off

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Sanity has finally prevailed. The government has scrapped its sale of the corporate data-base.

Amid the madness of MYEFO and the festive season, Finance Minister Matthias Cormann issued a statement: “final bids received [for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Registry] did not deliver a net financial benefit for the Commonwealth”.

They could have privatised this for billions – a monopoly asset in private hands. Yet a monopoly in private hands is a dangerous thing and, although there was great secrecy around the sale process, there must have been tension between the bidders and the government over price caps.

Australia already boasts the most expensive corporate data in the world.

Investigation: ASIC fees highest in world, even before data sale

Access to public information is the bedrock of properly functioning democracy; without it, multinational tax avoiders run rampant. Further, high business registration costs – the major income stream of this asset – constitute a drag on the economy. Higher costs make no economic sense.

We can proudly say the sale was exposed here at michaelwest.com.au in July and the support of readers and the public – and the ensuing campaign in media and social media bolstered by 70,000 signatures on a GetUp! petition – helped focus the minds of our elected ones.

This was truly a movement of the people pre-empting and thwarting a poor decision by government