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Wednesday, 10 October 1984
Page: 1523


Senator JACK EVANS(10.37) —The Australian Democrats will be opposing the amendment. We believe that there is an obligation on this Parliament to protect the Commonwealth's assets. The amendment would water down the provisions which would provide that protection. I can sympathise with much of what Senator Messner had to say. There are genuinely innocent creditors about who will be standing in line and who will, as a result of this legislation, move back in priority for claiming their payment should something go wrong with the company concerned. However, what needs to be borne in mind is that quite frequently creditors that would precede the Government simply because they have some security in the enterprise would be or could be related to the enterprise itself. By organisation and manipulation, that is quite possible under our present laws. Therefore, it is obligatory on the part of this Parliament, as I have said, to protect the assets of the Government and government agencies. They do not have quite the same protection in a number of spheres, and they do not have quite the same ability, through the Public Service, that commercial enterprises may have to look after their interests in relation to services which are provided, as distinct from products which are provided.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Messner's amendment) be left out.