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Thursday, 14 October 1999
Page: 9707

Senator MURRAY (12:09 PM) —I omitted to relate my previous remarks to yesterday's mandatory bid situation. I want to put on record that Senator Conroy's strong advocacy for caution in that area was indeed responsible for the mandatory bid effort being preserved. We were dealing there with 80 per cent of shareholders. Given those circumstances and the timing, the right decision was made. Now we are dealing with 10 per cent of the shareholders, and the question before us is: is what we are doing fair? The Rubicon that anyone considering this had to cross was whether it was appropriate and good policy for a minority to be compulsorily bought out. Should there be some mechanism for that to apply? There always have been some mechanisms, of course.

We crossed that particular Rubicon, and once we had done that, we had to pay attention to the questions of fair value, of fair notice, of proper market information and of due process. We have three sets of amend ments. We are dealing with the first set now, which relates to better market information and better notice. The second set deals with the independent valuation issue, and the third question deals with ensuring a fairer price. I do not think our sequence of three improvements should be considered minor; I think they are quite significant and quite helpful in ensuring as much fairness as possible in this process.