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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 3014

Senator SIDDONS —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Earlier this week the Chairman of the National Companies and Securities Commission, Mr Henry Bosch, expressed grave concerns about insider trading activity associated with takeovers on Australian share markets. Mr Bosch said that a survey done for the NCSC showed that share sale volumes in target companies increased markedly just prior to the announcement of takeovers. In view of the damage done to the image of American stock markets by the Boesky scandal, the harm done to small shareholders by this type of activity and the NCSC's stated inability to act in the face of insider trading, what action will the Government take to ensure that such sharp practices are banished from Australian share markets?

Senator WALSH —I am not sure that a question about the National Companies and Securities Commission should be addressed to me. I think it falls within the Attorney-General's portfolio. But, in view of its having some taxation implications in the way that the question has been put by Senator Siddons, I will answer it. Changes to the securities and exchange law are matters for the Attorney-General and I will see whether the Attorney-General has anything to say about that. On the taxation aspects of the question, I do not know whether the Treasurer has any action pending. I will ask about that. But I do agree that the outcomes to which Senator Siddons referred are highly undesirable. I make the point that, at least to a significant extent, the fact that capital gains will now be subject to taxation will impede, if not eliminate, some of that undesirable stock market practice.

I also acknowledge that Senator Siddons, who I believe has a genuine commitment to stamping out tax evasion, supported that legislation, as he has to the best of my recollection supported all legislation aimed at stamping out tax evasion and avoidance-unlike, of course, some of his former colleagues in the Australian Democrats and all the members of the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia.