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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 1865

Senator MACKLIN —I refer the Acting Attorney-General to a story in the Times on Sunday newspaper which reported that the Attorney-General was considering introducing national companies legislation. What constitutional powers does the Commonwealth have with respect to controlling the trading activities of trading corporations, and have these Commonwealth powers to control such activities been seen to have been widened by High Court of Australia decisions in recent times?

Senator GARETH EVANS —As much as I would like to wax lyrical and eloquent on that subject, I think it does call for a legal opinion which it is probably inappropriate for me to give at Question Time. Suffice it to say the Government is confident that it has wide-ranging powers available to it under section 51 (xx) of the Constitution, as recently expansively interpreted by the High Court. I am sure that when we see the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs-it has been dealing with this issue-which comes down today and for which we are all waiting with bated breath, the Government will be in a much better position to give a quick response to the subject matter of Senator Macklin's question.