MEAA win on identifying company directors
MEAA has been successful in preventing proposed changes to the information available on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission database that would have made it difficult for journalists to report on important stories.
In July this year more than 100 senior journalists, many of them MEAA members and representing the major media organisations across Australia, wrote to then Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to protest any diminution of the information available on company directors.
MEAA also wrote a submission to a Productivity Commission inquiry into Business Set-up, Transfer and Closure expressing concern at any scheme that would remove the ability of the public and the media to quickly identify corporate wrongdoers.
MEAA said: “Any proposal that puts a barrier between the ability of the media to legitimately identify and scrutinise company directors represents an attack on press freedom and public’s right to know.”
In its report released on Monday, the Commission has determined that while it favours the introduction of Director Identification Numbers through amendments to the Corporations Act 2001, the Commission also stated: “There should be no lessening of the existing recording of, and means of accessing, director information”.
In its submission MEAA had stated that people holding an important office such as being a company director have duties and responsibilities to the company, its shareholders and the public at large. Any attempt to prevent legitimate scrutiny of their activities would reduce corporate governance and hinder the ability of journalists to carry out their duties in the public interest.
MEAA thanks its members for participating in this successful campaign, particularly Victorian media section president Ben Butler of The Australian.