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Wednesday, 18 November 1914

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - The clause gives all the power necessary for appointing a bankrupt to do any class of work. Senator

Keating says that, on account of the delay, it is wise to give the trustee power to appoint the bankrupt to do any class of work. The necessity to get the permission of the creditors is like the brake on a van. There may be downhill tracks where it is very necessary for safety.

Senator Keating - It is difficult in a State bankruptcy to get a meeting, and will be much more difficult in an Australian bankruptcy.

Senator GARDINER - There is a danger in a State bankruptcy of even a first-class trustee, anxious to expedite matters, appointing a bankrupt to do things which would meet with the disapproval of nine-tenths of the creditors. We make provision in clause 98 for the sanction of the creditors, who are surely the chief people to be consulted when the estate has reached that stage. If the Committee is anxious to run the risks of haste because of the danger of going slowly, it can adopt Senator Keating's amendment, but I see greater danger in throwing aside the safeguards provided in almost all the Acts - Australian and English - as shown by the marginal notes.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - They are misleading.

Senator GARDINER - That is not a fair thing to say; it has been said before, but not yet proved.

Senator Keating - I proved it in connexion with the Queensland Act.

Senator GARDINER - The honorable senator asserted it, but did not prove it when asked to do so.

Senator Turley - The honorable senator showed that the marginal notes were certainly misleading in connexion with the Queensland Code.

Senator GARDINER - The marginal notes suggested a comparison with the Queensland Code. Senator Keating used his position and knowledge of the Act to mislead the Committee in that case. However, it is not a matter for warmth. It is a question whether we are going to insert a clause that cuts into clause 98, and may even altogether supersede it. Clause 98 gives all the permission necessary for the employment of the bankrupt to assist in dealing with the estate, but only with the permission of the creditors. It is safer to follow the beaten track. The reason advanced for the change is that more speed may be gained. It is a question of speed against safety, and, with my usual conservative nature, I prefer to stick to the beaten track' of safety rather than embark on unknown roads with those who are anxious to get along at a greater rate. I see grave dangers ininvesting trustees with unusual powers.

Senator Senior - They are powers in constant use by trustees in South Australia; in fact, even greater powers are given there.

Senator GARDINER - I hope the honorable senator is right. All the powersnecessary are given in clause 98. The amendment is far-reaching, and may override clause 98 altogether. '

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