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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4326

Senator O'NEILL (New South Wales) (13:14): I rise to speak on the Corporations Amendment (Asia Region Funds Passport) Bill 2018. Labor will support this bill as it puts in place a domestic law framework for the Asia Region Funds Passport. The passport of that name allows for eligible funds to be offered across Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Thailand and future signatory economies, with limited additional regulatory requirements and a common set of rules.

Labor believes that our financial services sector should be innovative, profitable, responsive and well regulated. It provides important job opportunities to Australians, and it must support consumers and businesses in critical areas such as banking, borrowing, insurance and superannuation. The genesis of the Asia Region Funds Passport was the Johnson report, which was commissioned by the previous Labor government in 2008. The Johnson report, Australia as a financial centre: building on our strengths, recognised the opportunities for growing financial services exports to our region, with benefits for jobs.

In 2010 the previous Labor government announced its support for the concept of an Asia region funds passport. We introduced it as an exploratory policy initiative with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Finance Ministers' Process. That started the process that culminated in the signing of the memorandum of cooperation for the passport in 2016. Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Thailand are currently signatories. Under the memorandum of cooperation, further economies may join the passport at a later stage. Labor will support this bill.