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
Thursday, 19 September 1974
Page: 1279


Senator Martin asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Attorney-General given instructions to expedite the consideration of the Manning Committee's Report on the operation of the Bills of Exchange Act; if so, when did this happen.

(2)   Has the Attorney-General given any further consideration to the recommendations of the Manning Committee; if so, does he propose to initiate legislation in accordance with the Committee's recommendations.

(3)   Does the Attorney-General intend to act on the recommendation that the law relating to cheques be dealt with in a separate Cheques Act; if so, will he advise the Senate when this will be done.


Senator Murphy - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes; in April 1973.

(2)   A considerable amount of work has been done by my Department towards legislation along the lines recommended by the Manning Committee. Extensive research has been necessary in some areas not wholly covered by the Manning Committee 's Report and to deal with certain banking procedures that have changed, due to technological changes, after the Manning Committee made its report.

(3)   I propose acting upon the Committee's recommendation that the law relating to cheques be dealt with in a separate Cheques Act. I expect to introduce the legislation during 1975.

Farm Development Loans


Senator Wriedt -On 11 July 1974, Senator Drake-Brockman asked me a question, without notice, concerning the trading banks' Farm Development Loan Funds and the Reserve Bank's Rural Credits Department. I indicated in my interim reply that I would check the position with the Treasurer. The Treasurer has now provided the following additional information:

As announced on 8 July 1974 the Farm Development Loan Funds of the major trading banks are being replenished by an amount of $36. 3m. Of this, $24.2m was transferred from banks' Statutory Reserve Deposits to their Farm Development Loan Fund accounts on 9 July. The balance of $ 1 2.1m will be transferred from banks' other assets by the end of August. These transfers, when completed, will bring the resources available to the Farm Development Loan Fund since its inception to $285m.

As regards interest rates on farm development loans, from 9 July the rates chargeable for new loans of under $50,000 rose by 2 per cent per annum, in line with the increase in the maximum overdraft rate, chargeable on loans drawn under limits of less than $50,000. The interest rate on new loans of $50,000 or more remained a matter for negotiation between banks and their customers. With reference to existing farm development loans, changes in interest rates will depend on the conditions of particular loan agreements between banks and their customers.

Interest rates on loans from the Rural Credits Department of the Reserve Bank are now in the range 9.5-10.0 per cent per annum. The full effect of these new rates on the amount of interest that will be payable on borrowings by the Wheat Board during 1974-75 is a matter for conjecture. Interest payments on wheat loans will be influenced by a number of unknown factors, including the size ofthe Board 's intake, the rate of advances to grower/suppliers and the pattern of inflow of cash from sales of wheat.

Loss of Australian Government Cheque


Senator Wriedt -On 17 July 1974 Senator Withers asked me a question, without notice, concerning the reported loss of an Australian Government cheque for $12.5 m payable to the Victorian Government.

The Treasurer has advised that no such cheque was issued by the Australian Government.

Therapeutic Goods Advisory Committee


Senator Wheeldon -On 18 July 1974, Senator Baume asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Health the following question, without notice:

Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware of the existence of the Therapeutic Goods Advisory Committee which was set up in 1972 by the Liberal-Country Party Government? Can the Minister say why this potentially important committee has met only once- in February 1974- since its formation? Will he confirm that a second committee meeting was proposed for June 1974 and then postponed? Will he also confirm that the minutes of the first meeting have not yet been forwarded to members of the Committee? Will he assure the Senate that it is the intention of the Labor Government to see that this Committee will continue to function efficiently and effectively and, hopefully, more frequently?

The Minister for Health has now provided me with the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

1   . The Therapeutic Goods Advisory Committee was set up in 1972 under section 17 of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations.

The functions ofthe Committee are to consider.

(a)   any matter referred to it by the Minister relating to the administration ofthe Act; and

(b)   the standards applicable to any goods for therapeutic use, and the requirements with respect to labelling and packaging applicable to any such goods, in so far as those standards or requirements relate to the manufacture, distribution or use of goods for therapeutic use; and to advise the Minister in relation to that matter or those standards.

2.   The Committee did not meet until February 1974 because during the intervening period there was no matter referred to the Committee within its terms of reference which warranted calling a meeting. During the period 1 972 to 1974 a number of draft standards were drawn up and agreed to by the Therapeutic Goods Standards Committee, an expert technical advisory body established under Section 1 8 of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations. Following agreement on the draft standards at the technical level, they were referred to the Therapeutic Goods Advisory Committee for consideration. February 1 974 was the earliest date that this could be achieved.

3.   The second meeting ofthe Committee was proposed for June 1974 but was later postponed to allow adequate time for groups, that might be affected in their professional or commercial activities by the proposed standards for therapeutic goods, to comment on those standards before they were considered further by the Therapeutic Goods Advisory Committee. The Committee had referred, at its first meeting, to the necessity for adequate time being granted for such comment to be provided.

4.   The minutes of the meeting of 5 February 1974 were dispatched to members of the Committee on 29 April 1974. However, as the honourable senator's copy has not reached him, I have arranged for another copy to be sent to him.

5.   I can assure the honourable senator that it is the intention of the Government that the Committee will continue to function efficiently and effectively. With regard to frequency of meetings, it is intended that the Committee will meet between each meeting of the Therapeutic Goods Standards Committee, probably three times each year. However this will depend on the speed with which the Therapeutic Goods Standards Committee is able to carry out the highly complex task of preparing draft standards for consideration by the Advisory Committee.

Baltic States


Senator Maunsell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Senate on 13 August 1974, without notice:

When was the Australian Ambassador in Moscow informed of the Australian Government's decision to recognise the jurisdiction of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics over the Baltic States.


Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Australian Ambassador in Moscow was informed on 16 July.

Baltic States


Senator Rae asked the Minister for Foreign

Affairs in the Senate on 1 5 August, in relation to a statement made by the Minister in the Senate on 13 August that Australia did consult a number of friendly countries beforehand to inform them of its intention to review its position on the question of the de jure recognition of the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union, without notice:

What were the countries consulted?


Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Department of Foreign Affairs has maintained contact for a number of years with the Governments of the United States, Britain and Canada on this question, and consultations took place with these governments before the Australian Government took its recent decision on this matter. There was also consultation with the New Zealand Government.







Suggest corrections