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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 234

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (11:01): I thank the member opposite for his questions and his contribution. There are a couple of points that I would simply make in response: the subsequent bill that will deal with the proprietary company issues will add to, not detract from, this legislation that is before the House today. It will see an extension to proprietary companies and will add to this bill, not take away from this bill.

The changes that we have made to this Corporations Amendment (Crowd-Sourced Funding) Bill 2016 from that which was available previously are the product of extensive consultation and, in particular, with the very informed members of my FinTech Advisory Committee—though there were many others—who have a keen understanding of the issues that are relevant to these types of funding arrangements and how they can be most effective. We have made a number of amendments to these provisions that improve the bill from where it was previously. We have listened to that advice from the sector and responded accordingly.

In relation to the issues of why now, why the two-step process and the protections and those sorts of issues that the member opposite raises: it has already been too long, in my view, to get to the point we are at today. The opposition themselves played a significant role in frustrating the passage of these measures last year. This is something we see a lot of from the opposition—they go out and call for things that they never did when they were in government, then when we seek to introduce them they seek to delay their introduction. The Leader of the Opposition is like that bloke on the side of the road where the construction is going on. Most of those guys just have a 'stop' and 'go' sign, but Bill Shorten only has a 'stop' sign. That is all he has—it is just stop, stop, stop, stop. That is what we get from the opposition so, even when we bring in measures such as this—which they did not even contemplate when they were in government—their proposition to us is to delay it longer, put it off for even longer, to not do it now. No, we need to do it now, and there will be other measures that will follow that this government will introduce, just like it is this government that is introducing these measures—measures that those opposite, when they were in government, did not even contemplate let alone seek to bring forward legislation into this place that would enable them to come into being.

The member is right to refer to the industry feedback when it comes to issues of cooling-off periods. We think it is better to design the regulation and the system in a way that will avoid gaming of the system, rather than to chew up endless resources in enforcement. Enforcement is not a big strong suit from those opposite, whether it is anything on financial regulation or border protection, or whichever area you choose to nominate. Even the implementation and enforcement of foreign investment regulation was not a strong suit for those opposite. We think it is better to design the regulation in such a way that does prevent that gaming of the system. That was the clear advice we got, and that is what we are acting on.

This government believes that we need to get on with it. Those opposite want to delay again, and they are aware of the frustration in the sector about their delaying tactics. We think it is important that they put that aside. As I said in my closing remarks on the second reading, we are very happy to keep the opposition informed of our progress in bringing in the subsequent bills that deal with the extension to proprietary companies but, frankly, they just have to get on with it. They have to stop the delay, they have to stop the point-scoring and the grandstanding and they just have to get on with it. The government is getting on with it, and I now call on the parliament to get on with it and ensure that we can bring these measures into place. As Treasurer, I will be bringing subsequent measures that build on this bill, but I can tell you that when we started this process we were building on nothing at all—left to us from the now opposition when they were in government—to build on when it came to putting these arrangements in place.