Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 29 April 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I move -

That the Senate do not insist on the amendment to sub-clause (1.) of clause 5 of the Bill requested by the Senate but disagreed to by the House of Representatives.

The Government is firmly of the belief that the approval of a class of persons as an approved class of persons for the purposes of this Bill should be made by the Minister by instrument in writing, as was provided for in the Bill as originally drafted. Let me repeat that sub-clause (1.) of clause 5 relates to what is an administrative matter. It is a matter that should properly be dealt with by a member of the Executive Government, namely the Minister - not by regulations which are legislative in character. A declaration by the Minister is a much sim pler and quicker means of operation than the making or amending of a regulation. As housing loans insurance will virtually be a novel undertaking in Australia, both the Government and the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation will be feeling their way. This will certainly be the case when approved classes of leaders are added in order to widen the scope of the scheme and to attract additional capital, which, as I have explained over and over again, is the purpose of the Bill. This may be done simply and quickly by action taken by the Minister. It would not be easy in some instances to define in the precise manner required in a regulation the classes of persons that the Government may wish to declare as approved lenders. It would be much easier to indicate precisely the classes of persons to be approved in a declaration by the Minister than by a regulation. For instance, a mining company may wishto borrow money that it proposes to lend to its employees for the acquisition of homes. One of the conditions under which the company may obtain the finance may be that each individual loan it makes is to be insured. After investigation, the Government might be satisfied that such mining companies should be approved as lenders for the purpose of the scheme. This could be done much more quickly and more simply by a declaration by the Minister than by means of a regulation. Consideration of possible cases that might arise suggest that ministerial declarations would provide the advantages of simplicity, flexibility and speed in administration which would be absent if action were to be taken by regulation.

If classes of persons who are to be approved classes of lenders were to be declared in regulation, the Parliament, of course, would be capable of disallowing any regulation made to approve a class of persons as lenders. Such a disallowance might - I say probably would - seriously interfere with the business of the Corporation, which is being established to carry on a commercial undertaking with as little outside interference as possible. The fact that it might suddenly be prevented from writing contracts with a class of person by disallowance of a regulation could upset the balance of its commercial considerations. It would never know when a regulation prescribing a class as an approved class of lender would be disallowed. Approved classes of lenders will be determined in the light of administrative and commercial considerations, and it is the Government's wish - 1 repeat, it is the Government's wish - to admit as approved lenders as many classes of persons as may reasonably be admitted. One of the major objectives of the scheme is to encourage an increased flow of funds into housing.

May 1 point out that in the earlier debate one of the criticisms made of the measure as it was presented was that it was not wide enough. The criticism was to the effect that more classes should be admitted. Under the Bill as it was originally presented, action of a kind which would .provide for quick admission of those lenders was provided by the machinery of the Minister approving. It is rather odd that those who criticised the fact that too few classes were prescribed originally, and who sought quicker admittance of other classes, should now seek to take action which would only have the effect of delaying - and long delaying - the admission of further classes as approved lenders. The approving of lenders is essentially a commercial and administrative matter and one which should be left for determination by the Minister.

Suggest corrections