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Thursday, 28 June 2012
Page: 8452

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:02): It is my pleasure to speak on behalf of the opposition on the Corporations Legislation Amendment (Financial Reporting Panel) Bill 2012. The opposition will not be opposing this legislation, which was introduced last week by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer. I will briefly run through what the parliamentary secretary outlined in his second reading speech in the House. The Financial Reporting Panel was established some six years ago, in 2006, to resolve disputes between ASIC and companies over accounting standards and financial reporting. It was—I think the parliamentary secretary, those participating in this debate and all members would agree—something that industry had argued for, and its intentions were certainly good. It was intended to help avoid court action and speed up the process of resolving disputes.

Since the inception of the Financial Reporting Panel, only five cases have been referred to it, and none have been referred to it since August 2010. Given this, the government announced sometime ago its intention to close the panel. There was then a delay while some consultation could take place, via a discussion paper that was issued on the future of the panel in 2011. But the government, having considered the views of stakeholders and having considered the fact that so few matters had been referred—in fact no matters in recent months, getting on to almost two years—announced in February that it would close the panel.

The coalition did not express any opposition to the government's announcement in February this year. Certainly given the lack of referrals to the panel, it is hard to justify the ongoing costs in keeping it. On behalf of the opposition I indicate that we are not opposing this legislation. I note that my good friend, the member for Blair, from the other side, is speaking on this bill. It is our happy duty to keep the wheels turning on these matters of technicality to do with taxation—in this case, the Corporations Law.