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Thursday, 27 April 1972
Page: 1368

Senator MURPHY - Does the AttorneyGeneral recall that last year a number of questions were asked about, and ultimately an urgency debate took place on, the failure to introduce legislation to regulate corporations dealing in accident insurance and to protect holders of policies with those companies; that the Prime Minister Mr McMahon stated that this matter was concerning him greatly, or words to that effect, and that the matter was being dealt with in some degree of urgency - as I recall it, by the Attorney-General's Department. Will the Attorney-General tell us what is happening with the legislation and what he proposes to do about it?

Senator GREENWOOD - I think that Senator Murphy is proceeding on the same misconception that it was apparent he was proceeding upon when he first raised this matter in this place last September or last October. He then attributed to the AttorneyGeneral's Department such faults as he thought were available. We pointed out that this matter was the responsibility of the Treasurer. Senator Murphy still maintains, apparently, that this is an appropriate question for the Attorney-General to answer when it has been demonstrated most recently that it is the responsibility of the Treasurer.

I am surprised that Senator Murphy in the course of his question at least did not advert to what I would have thought was public knowledge, that is, that last December the Treasurer on behalf of the Government made a most comprehensive statement outlining the nature of the legislation which the Government proposed to introduce in this area of general insurance. The details of that legislation were provided so that representations could be made to the Government from anybody who was interested, including comments from the Opposition - if it had any comments - concerning what the Government proposed. I am unable to say whether the Treasurer has received such representations.

It has been made apparent also that special arrangements with regard to drafting the legislation have been made this year and that the drafting of the legislation is well under way. I know that it is the hope of the Government that legislation will be introduced this session. I hope that that expectation will be realised. I think that the whole basis of the honourable senator's question, that the Government is doing absolutely nothing in this area, is absolutely contradicted by the facts of which I am surprised he has not been aware.

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