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Former PM Tony Abbott doesn’t regret ASIC funding cut, says regulators appear ‘asleep at the wheel’

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Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he doesn’t regret cutting funding to corporate regulator ASIC in the 2014 Budget.

Mr Abbott’s 2014 Budget saw funding allocated to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reduced by $120 million over four years, saying the onus was on the industry to self-regulate.

He tells Ben Fordham he doesn’t regret cutting the funding, saying it appears the regulators have been “asleep at the wheel”.

“What’s the point of having ASIC, what’s the point of having APRA, what’s the point of regulating the banking system if all these bad apples in banking have been getting away with ripping off people for years?

“Really, what have these regulators been doing?”

The former PM says the conclusion he’s drawn from the Royal Commission is “if you let people get away with murder, they will”.

“Why did the regulators let it happen? Why did the regulators fail?

“If I were the government, I would be talking to the regulators asking them why they should not be tendering their resignations.”

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Mr Abbott also responded to the ABC’s breach of impartiality standards which involved a report on him

The breach comes after ABC’s political editor Andrew Probyn described the former prime minister as the “most destructive politician of his generation” in October last year.

Mr Abbott tells Ben he isn’t seeking an apology but is calling out their “chronic bias”.

“You’d think if they wanted to encourage people to have a bit of faith in them, the very least they would do when such a finding has been made against them in respect to the conservative politician is apologise.”