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Thursday, 5 April 2001
Page: 26526

Mr HOCKEY (Minister for Financial Services and Regulation) (10:25 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to make consequential amendments to certain offence provisions in legislation administered by the Treasurer to reflect the application of the Criminal Code Act 1995 to existing offence provisions from 15 December 2001.

The bill proposes amendments to the range of taxation legislation, the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints Act) 1993 and aspects of the Trade Practices Act 1974 that required consultation with the states. For reasons of convenience, the bill also includes proposed amendments to the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to provisions administered by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

The Treasury Legislation (Application of Criminal Code) Bill (No. 1) 2001 has previously been introduced and would make amendments to the Financial Sector Shareholdings Act 1998, Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975, Insurance Act 1973, Life Insurance Act 1995, Prices Surveillance Act 1983, Productivity Commission Act 1998, Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997, Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 and aspects of the Trade Practices Act 1974 which did not require consultation with the states.

It is proposed to introduce a final bill in the winter sittings to make consequential amendments to the Corporations Law, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 1989.

This bill provides for amendments which clarify the physical elements of an offence and corresponding fault elements where these fault elements vary from those specified by the code and which specify whether an offence is one of strict or absolute liability. In the absence of such an amendment, offences previously interpreted as being one of strict or absolute liability would be interpreted as not being one of strict or absolute liability. In addition, any defences to an offence are being restated separately from the words of the offence. Use is being made of this opportunity to convert penalties expressed as dollar amounts to penalty units.

The bill does not change the criminal law. Rather, it ensures that the current law is maintained following application of the Criminal Code Act to Commonwealth legislation. I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill and commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Laurie Ferguson) adjourned.