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Wednesday, 22 August 1979
Page: 473

Mr MacKELLAR (Warringah) (Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) - by leave- I move:

Clause 3, page 1, lines 9 to 12, and page 2, lines 1 to 4, omit the clause, substitute the following clause: "3. Section 4 of the Principal Act is amended-

(a)   by omitting paragraphs (a) and (aa) and substituting the following paragaphs:

(a)   raising money by way of loan; (aa) converting any loan-

(i)   raised by the Commonwealth; or

(ii)   raised by a State in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Agreement, into any other loan so raised; and; and

(b)   by adding at the end thereof the following sub-section:

(2)   Stock created pursuant to paragraph ( 1 ) (a) shall not be issued or sold unless-

(a)   authority to borrow the moneys to be raised by the issue or sale is granted by an Act; or

(b)   the issue or sale is for the purpose of carrying out an obligation of the Commonwealth under the Financial Agreement. '. ".

Page 3, after clause 8, add the following new clause: "9. Section S3 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section substituted: 53. (1) The Auditor-General shall inspect and audit the accounts and records of Registries established under section 14 and shall forthwith draw the attention of the Treasurer to any irregularity disclosed by the inspection and audit that is, in the opinion of the Auditor-General, of sufficient importance to justify his so doing.

(2)   The Auditor-General may, at his discretion, dispense with all or any part of the detailed inspection and audit of any accounts or records referred to in sub-section ( 1 ).

(3   ) The Auditor-General shall, at least once in each year, report to the Treasurer the results of the inspection and audit carried out under sub-section ( 1 ).

(4)   The Auditor-General or a person authorized by him is entitled at all reasonable times to full and free access to all accounts and records of the Registries established under section 14.

(5)   The Auditor-General or a person authorized by him may make copies of, or take extracts from, any such accounts or records.

(6)   The Auditor-General or a person authorized by him may require any person to furnish him with such information in the possession of the person, or to which the person has access, as the Auditor-General or authorized person considers necessary for the purposes of the functions of the Auditor-General under this section, and the person shall comply with the requirement.

(7)   A person who contravenes sub-section (6) is guilty of an offence and is punishable, upon conviction, by a fine not exceeding $200.'.".

Both amendments are of a machinery nature. The first amendment relates to clause 3 of the Bill, which would amend section 4 of the Act. The effect of the amendment now proposed to clause 3 of the Bill will be simply to ensure that sub-section 4 of the Act enables stock to be issued in respect of any loan raised by a State in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Agreement. The relevant provisions of the Financial Agreement are sub-clauses 5(1) and 5(2). Sub-clause 5(1) provides that a State may:

(a)   . . . borrow moneys within the State from authorities, bodies, funds or institutions (including Savings Banks) constituted or established under Commonwealth or State law or practice and from the public by counter sales of securities, and

(b)   use any public moneys of the State which are available under the laws of the State.

Sub-clause 5 (2) provides:

Any securities that are issued for moneys so borrowed or used shall be Commonwealth securities, to be provided by the Commonwealth upon terms approved by the Loan Council.

The present amendment is designed to ensure that securities can be issued under the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act to enable the Commonwealth to honour these obligations under the Financial Agreement.

The second amendment proposes repeal of the present outdated audit section of the Act- that is, section 53- and its replacement with a new section 53 which sets out audit provisions which are now more or less standard in Commonwealth legislation. As I have said, the amendments are machinery ones. I commend them to honourable members.

Amendments agreed to. (Quorum formed).

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report- by leave- adopted.

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