Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 25 November 1971
Page: 3777

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister represeniing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

(1)   What matters were considered at themeeting of the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General in Canberra on 4th and 5th February 1971.

(2)   What stage has now been reached in the attempt to secure uniform laws on the matters listed in his answer on 30tb October 1970 (Hansard p. 3156).

(3)   At which meetings and with what result has the Committee discussed the Companies Commission recommended by the Company Law Advisory Committee under Mr Justice Eggleston.

(4)   Why was information omitted from earlier answers on the Committee's consideration ofthe Merchant Shipping Act (Hansard, 26tb August 1970, p. 566) and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Hansard, 29th September 1970, p. 1844) and the Australian Capital Territory Companies (Life Insurance Holding Companies) Ordinance (Hansard, 16th February 1971, page 79), and what stage has now been reached on these matters.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   The proceedings of the Standing Committee are confidential. However, I am at liberty to disclose that the following matters were considered at the meeting of the Committee on 4th and 5th February 1971:

(a)   Fifth Interim Report of the Company Law Advisory Committee relating to the control of fund raising, share capital and debentures.

(b)   Recommendation by the Company Law Advisory Committee that a Companies Commission be established.

(c)   Proposal that a company incorporated in an Australian State or Territory he permitted to carry on business in any other State or Territory without the need to register as a foreign company.

(d)   Report of the Faculty of Law at the Australian National University on theLaw of Domicile.

(e)   Regulation of the provision of unsolicited goods and services.

(2)   The present position of the matters mentioned in the answer given by the then Attorney-General on 30th October 1970 (other than matters appearing from that answerto have been completed or removed from the agenda) is shown in the list set out below.

Money Lenders and Consumer Protection-

Present position: A draft of legislationrelating to unsolicited goods and services is being prepared for consideration.

Amendments of Uniform Companies Acts -

Present position: The Company Law Advisory Committee has submitted the following six interim reports:

No. 1, relating to Accounts and Audit;

No. 2, relating to Substantial Shareholdings and Takeovers;

No. 3, relating to Investigations;

No. 4, relating to Share and Option Dealings by Directors and Officers of Companies:

No. 5, relating to Control of Fund Raising, Share Capital and Debentures; and

No. 6, relatingto Share Hawking.

The Standing Committee has accepted mostof the recommendations in the reports, and legislative action as indicated below has been taken:

Queensland - An Act with respect to the matters dealt with in the first four reports has been passed but has not yet been brought into operation.

New South Wales, Victoria, South AustraliaBills with respect to the matters dealt with in the first four reports have been introduced.

Australian Capital Territory - An Ordinance with respect to the matters dealt with in the second report has been made but has not yet been brought into operation.

Control of Stock Exchanges and Sharebrokers -

Present position: Legislation has been enacted in New South Wales, Victoria. Queensland and Western Australia.

Unit Trusts-

Present position: The Company Law Advisory Committee which, as indicated in the answer to Question No. 1468 (Hansard 30th October1970, p. 3156). was to examine and report on the question of appropriate legislation with respect to unit trusts, has intimated that it will be unable to do this for some time. The Standing Committee has appointed a sub-committee to formulate proposals for the establishment of a body to consider the need for legislation relating to unit trusts, mutual funds and syndication. The subcommittee, which consists of the Attorneys-General of the Commonwealth. New South Wales and Victoria, will make recommendations to the Standing Committee on the nature of the body that might be established and its terms of reference.

(3)   The Standing Committee discussed the Company Law Advisory Committee's proposal for a Companies Commission at its meetings held in Perth on 1st November 1968, in Hobart on 8th March 1969 and Canberra on 4th February 1971.

The Standing Committee has deferred reaching a decision on this proposal. For the time being, it has agreed to confer upon the Commissioners for Corporate Affairs and the Registrars of Companies of the States and Territories power to grant dispensations from some of the more stringent accounting requirements that will flow from the amendments of the uniform companies legislation now in progress.

(4)   Merchant Shipping Act. The earlier answers were to questions which sought information only in respect of matters considered in the attempt to secure uniform laws, and no such laws were involved in the proposals for amendment of the Merchant Shipping Act.

Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. This matter has not been considered at a meeting of the Standing Committee. The advice to the Attorney-General's colleagues on the Standing Committee to which the Minister for Foreign Affairs referred in his answer on 29th September 1970 was given by letter.

Companies (Life Insurance Holding Companies) Ordinance 1968. There was no consideration of this, matter by the Standing Committee. As pointed out by the then Prime Minister in his answer on 16th February 1971, the then Attorney-General merely used the occasion of a Standing Committee meeting to inform his State colleagues of the specific action the Commonwealth intended to take.

Suggest corrections