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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6222


Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (2:22 PM) —My question is directed to Senator Coonan, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue. Does the minister recall notifying the Senate register of interests on 7 January this year of her resignation as a director of Endispute Pty Ltd and on 6 February of the divestment of her interest in the same company? Can the minister explain why Australian Securities and Investments Commission records still show, as late as today, that she remains a director of Endispute Pty Ltd and retains a 50 per cent shareholding in the company? Given the minister's responsibilities for ASIC, can she indicate whether it is usual for ASIC to take the best part of a year to process this sort of information?


Senator COONAN (Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer) —Thank you, Senator Faulkner. I have resigned as a director of Endispute, which is just a private family company. I have resigned as a director; I have no shareholding—I have transferred my shareholding. I cannot say why it may not have been registered. Obviously, I will make an inquiry.


Senator FAULKNER —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I appreciate the fact that the minister will make that inquiry. In these circumstances, I ask the minister to inform the Senate, or take it on notice if she is not able to now, when she resigned as a director and when she divested her shareholding. Can she inform the Senate to whom she divested interest in the company? Can she also inform the Senate when ASIC was advised of these changes and who advised them so we can make assessment about ASIC's role in relation to the processing of this sort of information.


Senator COONAN (Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer) —I thank Senator Faulkner for the supplementary question. Obviously, when you resign as a director and you divest yourself of a shareholding you do not personally have any obligation to notify ASIC, so I am not able to provide that information. What I can do is ascertain dates, because I would not be in a position to do that just off the top of my head. As to the other part of the question, Senator Faulkner, it is not up to me as a minister to be interfering in any internal processes of ASIC as to when they may see fit to register any information they get.