Opposition backbench senator Sam Dastyari during Senate question time at Parliament House Canberra, Monday, July 7, 2014.
Opposition backbench senator Sam Dastyari during Senate question time at Parliament House Canberra, Monday, July 7, 2014. AAP Image - Alan Porritt

Consumers could lose big after Abbott deal with PUP

CONSUMERS could be the big losers after the Abbott government did a last-minute deal with the Palmer United Party to stop a Senate disallowance motion against its financial advice regulations on Tuesday.

The regulations, which were put in place on June 30, will re-open the door to commissions and conflicted remunerations in the financial advice sector.

After Labor, The Greens and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon were ready to disallow the regulations on Tuesday, but Finance Minister Mathias Cormann revealed a deal had been struck.

He said he met with PUP leader Clive Palmer on Tuesday, and secured the minor party's support, and that of Australian Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir, to vote down the motion.

The deal sealed during Question Time on Tuesday will demand financial advisors inform clients of conflicted advice each year, among other requirements.

Senator Cormann said the conditions Mr Palmer put on the government for his support, however, would not be put in place until 90 days from Tuesday, preventing a further disallowance motion.

The deal has confirmed the government's changes to Labor's Future of Financial Advice laws will remain in place, with critics saying it removes a key catch-all "best interests test".

It came despite a call from National Seniors, the Council of the Ageing and consumer group Choice on Tuesday that the Senate confirm the regulations would be disallowed.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari hit out at the deal, labelling it "the PUP wagging the tail wagging the dog" in the chamber on Tuesday.

He said Australian families "deserve better" than a deal with minor parties which sold out the public interest for "a handful of the richest, most powerful people in the country".

The disallowance motion, brought by Labor and seconded by The Greens, was defeated 34 to 31 in the Senate on Tuesday.



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