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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3124

Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Agriculture) - At the moment I would prefer to comment on Senator Greenwood's remarks. Senator Greenwood is in fact seeking a further deferment of the consideration of this legislation. We discussed this Bill in this chamber yesterday and the Government agreed then to defer further consideration of it until today on the basis of the objections that were raised by Senator Missen. I indicated then that, in view of the contentious nature of the proposed amendments and the legalities involved, I would agree to a deferral of the consideration of the Bill to enable further consideration to be given to the matter by both the Government and the Opposition. That has been done. I do not believe that further deferment of consideration of the legislation is warranted.

It is true that there are certain loopholes in the present Act. The whole purpose of the provisions contained in the Bill and the amendments is to tighten them and to ensure that the regulations which are imposed are properly observed. I know that it is not the desire of the Government to effect any legislation which might prejudice the rights of any person who may have contrac.tural obligations along the lines Senator Greenwood has indicated, but it is necessary to have these regulations clearly defined. That, of course, is the whole intention of the Government. The proposed amendment by the Government to clause 5 would have the effect of deeming acts or transactions which lack the appropriate exchange control authority not to be invalid. This provision is similar to the provision that has already been passed by the Committee in clause 3 (6). There are large numbers of contracts and collateral contracts between residents of Australia and non-residents that may need to be enforceable in the courts of other countries, and this amendment, by validating such acts or transactions, would assist enforcement of such contracts in overseas courts. The amendment in no way limits the Treasurer's powers to approve criminal proceedings under the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations against persons who have not obtained the appropriate exchange control authority. Consequently, on behalf of the Government I move:

Leave out sub-clause (1), substitute the following subclause:

(   1 ) No act or thing done, and no contract or other transaction entered into, before the commencement of this Act, shall be deemed to be, or ever to have been, invalid or unenforceable by reason only that a provision of the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations has not been complied with, but the foregoing-

(a)   does not apply to any act, thing, contract or other transaction the validity of which, has, before 3 December 1974, been called in question, for that reason, in any proceedings, whether or not the proceedings have been completed before that date; and

(b)   shall not be construed as having the effect of preventing a person from being convicted of an offence against the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations by reason of his having failed to comply with a provision of those regulations. '.

The Government will proceed with that amendment. I understand that Senator Missen will proceed with his amendment to clause 5 (1) (a). I believe that is the course that the Committee should now follow.

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