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Monday, 6 December 1976

Mr HOWARD (BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs) -The honourable gentleman has drawn this matter to my attention on earlier occasions, as have some other honourable gentlemen. I should point out to him that administration of insurance legislation so far as the Commonwealth is concerned is the responsibility of my colleague the Treasurer. I shall discuss this particular matter which he raises with my colleague. I should make the general observation to the honourable gentleman that naturally at a time such as this such practices, if engaged in by companies, would have a very serious effect upon primary producers who have suffered loss and are waiting long periods for the settlement of claims. I should also remind the honourable gentleman that the entitlement of an insured person to the proceeds of an insurance policy is a matter of private contractual right and is a matter which can be pursued according to those private contractual rights by the individual concerned. The point I make simply is that a lot of these practices can be effectively responded to and effectively coped with by the individuals in question pursuing their rights through the civil courts.

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