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Tuesday, 16 November 1976
Page: 2681

Mr SHIPTON (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) -I understand that the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs met some State Munsters and Attorneys-General last week and discussed his proposed co-operative scheme in the field of companies and securities legislation. Can the Minister report to the House on these discussions? Is he able to tell the House when the scheme might be implemented?

Mr HOWARD (BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs) - It is a fact that in Melbourne last Friday I met all State Ministers responsible for corporate affairs, with the exception of the Queensland Attorney-General, who is overseas at the present time and was represented by one of his colleagues. The Ministers have agreed to meet again, not later than 18 February, by which time there will have been a complete exchange of views between the Commonwealth and the States regarding the essential details of the Commonwealth's proposals. I did not anticipate when the Commonwealth put its proposals in July of this year, that this matter could be resolved by one meeting between the Commonwealth and all the State Ministers concerned. It is a complex matter. I have made it clear that it is the Commonwealth Government's belief that the Commonwealth has distinct national responsibilities in these areas and that those responsibilities go beyond responsibilities as, in effect, agents for the Territories involved in the area. I am still cautiously optimistic that the Commonwealth's proposals will win the support of the States. I believe it is sensible for the Commonwealth to endeavour to secure a co-operative approach in this area. I believe that uniform legislation is desirable not only from the point of view of investor protection but also from the point of view of the business community. I believe that this legislation can best be achieved by a cooperative approach.

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