Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 17 October 1973
Page: 2272

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) - I have listened with very great attention to the statement made by the Minister for Overseas Trade (Dr J. F. Cairns). I think he must understand that enactment of the present Bill will completely change the whole character of the existing Act. I shall give a few illustrations. Sir John McEwen was quite deliberate in ensuring that one of the provisions of the Act was that money could be borrowed in Australia only in exceptional circumstances. Consequently there was little danger of there being any interference with the money market for Commonwealth, local government and semi-government organisations and the private market for finance. As well, many of the functions have been substantially increased until there is hardly any area of activity that has not been brought within the purview of the Act. In fact, under some of the dragnet clauses - one where any business whatsoever can be carried out - are so wide in its context that it changes the

Bill substantially. It makes it a totally different Bill. Perhaps what should have been done on this occasion is an entirely new Bill should have been brought in.

But then we go a stage further to the investment bonds. Here there is no limit whatsoever on the amount of money that can be obtained from the Australian public. In circumstances like this, with its powers to obtain funds and with its command over resources being so great, again the whole concept of the original Bill and of the AIDC has been changed. As one who probably knows as much about the Australian Resources Development Bank, having brought the measure into the House, and who knows more about the AIDC than any other person, with the possible exception of Sir John McEwen and Sir Alan Westerman, I know what the purposes of the original Bill were and what Cabinet intended. I can say to the Minister that because the whole concept has been changed we believe that we must ensure that maximum precautions are taken to make certain that proper auditing processes and accountancy processes are carried out. I believe that in such cases as the investments of the Australian people in, for example, business that would usually be done with the life offices, there could be no objection whatsoever to the Government auditor doing the auditing. He is a talented man. He does the auditing of most of the Government's accounts. When the national interest and the interest of individual investors are involved in the way that they are involved on this occasion, we strongly believe that the Auditor-General of the Commonwealth should have the right to investigate and to comment on the accounts.

Suggest corrections