Tech inquiry wraps up with Bragg promising advocacy for sector

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Two years and three reports later, the parliamentary committee on technology – which began life focused on fintech – has officially wrapped.

Chaired by Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology was formed in September 2019. It produced two reports on the fintech sector, the first including a series of “quick win” recommendations and the second focusing on longer term structural issues.

It then pivoted to a wider focus and was renamed the Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, and tabled its final report on cryptocurrency on Wednesday evening.

Senator Bragg tabled the report in the Senate, signaling the conclusion of the committee.

But Senator Bragg said he would continue to advocate for the hundreds of recommendations made by the Committee, and for the tech sector in general.

“My job is now to become the chief advocate for the crypto recommendations. I’ll be talking to my parliamentary colleagues, including the Treasurer, about this,” Senator Bragg told InnovationAus.

Senator Bragg was appointed as chair of the Committee in his first year in the Senate, and said it has been a valuable learning experience.

“I’ve really enjoyed doing this. It has probably taken the Senate into places that it hasn’t been before. There have been words uttered on Hansard that haven’t been said before, such as ‘shitcoin’,” he said.

“I think that’s good and healthy. Coming in and out of the bush capital, I worry that you’re a long way from the market in everything you do. In this area we’re a very, very long way away from the market. This process, working with industry, has been very positive and I hope other people have seen it as a responsive process to peoples’ needs.

“I found the level of community engagement has been remarkable – it shows that it’s been a highly valuable work of the Senate that has existed for these past two years.”

Senator Bragg said his party needs to be better on issues such as tech in order to better appeal to younger voters.

“I want the Liberal Party to be better able to talk to younger Australians generally. All the research and data shows we’ve never done as well with younger people as other political parties, that is a fact,” he said.

“I think the promise of crypto, of having more control of your own money and getting access to new products, is very important and it resonates with younger people, and I’m very keen to be on the frontline of that hopefully becoming our policy. That’s my job in the interim.”

The Senator said the committee has been influential, and many of its recommendations have already been acted on.

“If you look at the recommendations we’ve made back in the first two reports, a lot of it has been completed. We’ve had a pretty good strike rate,”

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