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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 900

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - In the definition of 'Companies Ordinance' there is a provision whereby the ordinance is to apply according to its terms, whatever those terms might be in the future. The definition states:

Companies Ordinance' means the Companies Ordinance 1 962- 1 974 of the Australian Capital Territory or, if that Ordinance is amended, that Ordinance as amended;

The view of the Opposition is that it is not desirable to have in a complex Bill such as the Trade Practices Bill a reference to an ordinance to which one has to go if one desires to know whether or not a particular aspect of company law applies to the matter under consideration. We appreciate that that is something we are not able to correct in this Bill, because it would be a fairly substantial draftsman's job. We regret that a person is not able to pick up the Trade Practices Act and find all of the laws relating to him contained in the Act; he has to go to another Act and find out what that says. As I say, we do not see how we in the Opposition can correct that, although we regret that it was not done.

The second point to which we draw attention is that the words 'or, if that Ordinance is amended, that Ordinance as amended' mean that by the usual means by which ordinances are made in the Australian Capital Territory the provisions can be altered at some stage in the future. There is a practical problem in that, because practitioners often have difficulty in finding provisions of the Companies Ordinance and, of course, the Trade Practices Act has an Australiawide operation. I am sure that anyone in practice knows that it is not easy to pick up ordinances of the Australian Capital Territory. The difficulties are compounded if one has to look at a number of amending ordinances to find out what the law is at any particular time. I therefore move:

In the definition of 'Companies Ordinance' leave out the words 'or, if that Ordinance is amended, that Ordinance as amended'.

The effect will be that the provision which will apply is the present Companies Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory. That is obviously the basis upon which the Bill has been drafted and it seems appropriate that people should know that that is the fixed state of the law. If there has to be an amendment, it can be made in the ordinary way.

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