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Wednesday, 7 July 1915

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I quite agree that every insurance company should have a registered office in each State, but I desire to know whether, for the purposes of this Bill, the Northern Territory will occupy a different position from that of any other State?

Senator Maughan - Or the Federal Capital or Papua?

Senator SENIOR - Will it be necessary for every insurance company to have a registered office in each of these Territories, which are dependencies of Australia ?

Senator Gardiner - Yes, it will.

Senator Millen - Is it not desirable that there should be?

Senator SENIOR - I am considering whether we may not strain the idea too much, and come to a breaking point. In other words, whether, for the purposes cf the Bill, we may seek far more than is necessary.

Senator Millen - Suppose that a resident in the Northern Territory wanted to institute proceedings against a company under the laws prevailing in the Territory. It would not be sufficient for him to serve a notice on the company in Melbourne. It must be served in the Northern Territory in order to come under the jurisdiction of its laws.

Senator SENIOR - I do not wish to be obsessed by the idea that we must have a visible office, whilst we render it more difficult for a person who is doing business with the insurance companies. Suppose, for example, that fifty persons in the Northern Territory have insured their lives or premises with twenty companies, and that it becomes necessary to register the twenty offices simply because a very small number of insurances have been effected with each of the offices.

Senator Keating - That is the present position.

Senator SENIOR - That, I take it, is the position required by the law' of the Northern Territory at present, but I do not think it is the position in the de pendencies of Australia. If we could secure the advantages which the clause aims at, and escape the disadvantages which certainly seem to loom up, I would be very pleased. That is why I asked the Minister for a definition in regard to " Territory." It will be very hard on an insurance company if it is required to have a registered office in each place. Take, for example, the Federal Territory, in which there may be 100 insurance offices.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What is the cost of registration?

Senator SENIOR - The cost of registration is possibly nothing, but there is a good deal beside the fact of registration to be considered. I do not think that there is anything to be gained by the provision in question. In the case of a State the local Court is defined in the definition clause as the Court in which cases may be tried.

Senator Millen - So it is in the case of the Territories.

Senator SENIOR - In the Territories you have not a Supreme Court, or the High Court, and those are the two Courts prescribed in the measure.

Senator Millen - Pardon me, you have. In the Federal Territory, for instance, you have ; because we have adopted the laws of New South Wales.

Senator SENIOR - We have not adopted the State laws* in the case of the Northern Territory.

Senator Millen - I think that we did.

Senator SENIOR - We have a Judge who is acting at present. It is in order to avoid entanglements that I want to be clear on the point,' and if the Minister will submit it to the Attorney-General for his consideration I shall be quite satisfied.

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