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Monday, 24 May 1965

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) .- I wish to deal with the moratorium provisions of the Bill. In clause 17, " mortgage " is defined as - a mortgage (legal or equitable) of land;

Clause 19 deals with hire purchase agreements. This provokes me to ask: Where in the Bill is there provision for a moratorium in respect of mortgages of personal chattels, as distinct from land?

Senator Gorton - I am informed that it is not directly there.

Senator WRIGHT - I did not see it there and I thought I must have made an error in perusing the Bill. I cannot see why it should be assumed that all mortgage liabilities over personal chattels given by servicemen will be in the form of hire purchase agreements. I know that the ordinary run of business is such, but there are a lot of other liabilities not of that character. I think consideration should be given to making provision for them. Subclause (2.) of clause 20 seems to me to be open to ambiguity. It reads as follows -

The time for payment is postponed so that the payment falls due upon the expiration of -

(a)   the period immediately following the date on which the national serviceman completes his national service equal to the period of that service; or

(b)   the period of twelve months immediately following that date, whichever is the shorter.

Everything in paragraph (b) depends upon " that date ", which, I take it, refers to the date mentioned in paragraph (a), but it seemed to me to be difficult to distill the meaning. Then in relation to sub-clause (9.) of clause 20, which refers to court orders, I raise the question whether, if a court has ordered that the mortgagee may exercise his remedies, he may do so at any time and whether an appeal is pending or not. There is no urgency about this being decided before the Parliament adjourns, because no ex-serviceman will be sued in relation to these matters in the immediate future. However, it seems to me that in this respect the provision requires attention. Those are the only matters which I desire to raise.

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