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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 981

(Question No. 4884)


Mr Duncan asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 13 November 1986:

(1) Further to my Question No. 3288 (Hansard, 20 October 1986, page 2395) is he able to say what explanation was given by the Queensland delegate of the National Companies and Securities Commission for failing to make available statistics regarding the number of investigations and criminal charges arising from them since the inception of the co-operative companies and securities scheme.

(2) Does he consider the creditors and prospective creditors of companies registered in Queensland, in the absence of these statistics, are being accorded adequate protection under the co-operative companies and securities scheme.

(3) What are the advantages to investors in, and creditors of, companies under the existing co-operative scheme compared to a national scheme.

(4) What impediments exist to the replacement of a scheme, which is co-operative in name only, with one which will guarantee all Australians the equal protection of the law.

(5) What steps will he take to achieve uniform, comparable statistics on the operation of the existing companies and securities scheme.


Mr Lionel Bowen —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I am advised that the Queensland delegate did not respond to the National Companies and Securities Commission's request for data.

(2) to (5) The Companies Act and Codes enacted under the co-operative companies and securities scheme provide a number of protections to creditors and prospective creditors. Statistics of the type obtained in answer to Question No. 3288 provide an indication of trends across Australia which may also assist in assessing the appropriateness of those measures. I will be seeking the views of the Chairman of the National Companies and Securities Commission on the merits of more comprehensive insolvency statistics being published in the Commission's Annual Report.

The co-operative companies and securities scheme has resulted in the enactment of uniform laws, and has brought an increased measure of uniformity of administration. The question whether the co-operative scheme should continue to be the appropriate model for corporate and securities regulation in Australia is the subject of on-going debate. I note, in this context, that the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs is presently reviewing the role of the Parliament in the co-operative scheme. The Government will remain sensitive to views concerning the future development of the regulation of company law and the securities and futures industries in Australia.