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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2578

Mr MARLES (CorioParliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs) (11:05): I thank all members who have contributed to the debate on the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012. Firstly, as a matter of clarification regarding the implementation of the proposed section 35 of the FMA Act regarding set-off, I would like to make a couple of comments in response to queries from the member of Goldstein's office regarding the interaction of this general provision with existing detailed specific statutory provisions. The government does not intend that this provision be used in relation to a tax liability that may be payable to the Australian Taxation Office within the broad meaning of a tax liability under the Tax Administration Act 1953. I wish to also offer a further point of clarification with regard to the retrospective commencement of items 1 and 2 of schedule 3, which seek to amend misdescribed provisions in the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act 2010 that would have made technical amendments to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. These items seek merely to substitute references to 'at common law and in equity' and 'at common law or in equity' with the phrase 'under the general law'. The Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act 2010 added a definition of 'general law' in the CAC Act as meaning 'the principles and rules of the common law and equity'.

As explained in the explanatory memorandum to the bill, the retrospective commencement of these items would not cause detriment to any person, as substantively the connection to common law and equity are retained within the meaning of general law. Moreover, consistent with the request from the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills in their Alert Digest No. 2 of 2012, I also advise the parliament that the changes could not possibly cause detriment to any person. This bill, if enacted, will clarify specific provisions in four acts and repeal two acts across three portfolios. This bill reflects an ongoing commitment to ensuring that financial framework laws remain clear and up to date. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.