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Wednesday, 13 May 1981
Page: 2347


Mr MOORE (Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs)(9.41) —The latter point raised by the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) was the point to which I was referring when I responded previously. I have very grave reservations about the practice of making valuations, announcing valuations, on which people hold securities. They can then sell them and come out subsequently, some years later, with a far better result. Certainly the amounts returned by the receiver are substantial.

On the question of accounting procedures and accounting reviews, there is no doubt at all that standards vary enormously. However, I do not accept that the way to do something in this life is to adopt the view: When in doubt, regulate. There is a great old bureaucratic practice which says: 'We do not know anything about it. We will regulate it'. I have seen governments in Queensland and in other places do this. The most appropriate course would be for the National Securities Commission to determine the minimum acceptable to it-not the maximum but the minimum. From that base, discussions could be held with the Institute of Chartered Accountants or the Society of Accountants in which they could recognise what should become the minimum acceptable. By doing that we could save ourselves yet another government body, board or regulatory authority. At the same time, it is hoped that we would see accountants reach those standards. If they do not reach those standards, we will have to consider the opposite situation. I hope that common sense, commercial practice and a sense of professionalism will be such as to carry through these things.

Remainder of Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.