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Wednesday, 27 March 1985
Page: 861

Senator HAINES(11.05) —Senator Durack is quite correct. The Australian Democrats will not support the Opposition's amendment to delete clause 15 of the 1985 Bill, which corresponds to clause 14 of the 1984 Bill. As I indicated in my speech on the second reading, I consulted widely last year with private trustees and with representatives of organisations and industries which had an interest in the preservation of choice and in the maintenance of a role for private trustees in insolvency law. As a consequence of that, some fairly objectionable clauses in the 1984 Bill were deleted, including old clauses 13, 19, 20, 29, 32 to 34, and 37. A number of others, while not deleted, were significantly amended.

At no stage in any discussion that I had with any individual involved in maintaining a role for private trustees was the deletion of old clause 14-that is, new clause 15-raised with me. At no stage did anybody object to it. Indeed, when I sat with those people with a copy of the 1984 Bankruptcy Amendment Bill in front of me, marking the passages to which they had no objection, and those to which they objected, and the clauses which they wanted amended, I ticked clause 14 as being acceptable to those people in the industry. If it is good enough for them to accept, it is certainly good enough for me to go along with.

I can only assume that the Opposition has brought forward this last remaining bone of contention from some ideological commitment rather than because the industry wants it to do so. I have no more brief to support the privatisation mania of the Opposition than I have to support the socialism of the Government. What is in the best interests of the people concerned is my major interest. For that reason, we can see no point in proceeding with any additional amendments to the Bill.