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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2552

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The speech read as follows)-

The purpose of this Bill is to extend the operation of the Companies (Foreign Take-overs) Act 1972 until 31 December 1974. The Companies (Foreign Take-overs) Act 1972 came into force on 9 November 1972. The Act was introduced following an announcement by the former Prime Minister of the introduction of a scheme for the control of foreign takeovers effected by means of acquisitions of shares or assets, including mineral rights. The Act was an interim measure which related to share acquisitions only and which included a provision under which it would cease to have effect on 3 1 December 1973.

The fact that the existing Act was introduced as an interim measure is itself an illustration of the magnitude of the problem of developing a comprehensive and effective law for the control of foreign takeovers. Some of the policy and legal drafting problems involved have been greatly clarified by experience in the operation of the existing legislation. At the same time, new problems and difficulties have surfaced. We are now in a position to identify essential requirements of reasonably effective legislation and work is in progress with a view to the introduction of new legislation into the Senate. This new legislation will be brought before the Senate in due course. In the meantime, it is desirable that the existing legislation be kept in operation and for this purpose I have introduced the Companies (Foreign Take-overs) Bill 1973 to extend the operation of the legislation to 31 December 1974. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Greenwood) adjourned.

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