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Friday, 3 December 1965

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) . - 1 support my colleague in this matter. We take the view that it is in the public interest to have the various registers available for all who want to look at them. I do not want to labour the point very much. We take the opposite view to that taken by the Attorney-General. We believe that the register ought to be a public and an open register. Although some other countries have secret registers or some modifications of this practice, we think that the register in Australia should be openly available for the community or for interested persons to scrutinise. A person can go to the various registry offices in the States now and for a fee search in company records, within limits. We think a similar practice should apply with respect to this register.

I think the Attorney-General at some stage produced documents submitted for registration in terms of the British legislation. He seemed to imply that after all this was a rather musty set of documents and there seemed to be no legal provision stating what documents had to be registered or the form in which they should be registered. Nevertheless, if the register is freely available for inspection, a great service will be done in bringing undesirable practices to light. In our view, for the most part, these practices ought not to be indulged in and we do not believe that the law should in any way assist in keeping secret what in fact ought to be open and freely available.

Amendments negatived.

Clauses agreed to.

Clause 41 (Agreements subject to registration).

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