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Thursday, 16 October 2008
Page: 6158

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (9:44 AM) —We will not oppose that, but I do note with very great concern that not only will the cut-off not apply to this enormous legislation but there will be no Senate committee of inquiry, and I expect that the government will be justifying that process. Given the circumstances, we are not going to oppose the motion, but it does put enormous pressure on the Senate to handle very complicated legislation with an enormous impact on the nation. I want to register the concern that the Greens have that there is no consultation with the public, with business, with the sectors that are particularly involved in this process, and that, we submit, is not good parliamentary procedure. The government has a very serious responsibility here for any untoward effects coming out of this legislation because we are not going through the normal prudent process of a proper Senate inquiry into legislation of this magnitude.

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (9:44 AM) —I table a statement of reasons justifying the need for these bills to be considered during these sittings and seek leave to have the statement incorporated in Hansard. I note Senator Brown’s comments and thank him for his concurrence.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

Purpose of the Bills

To introduce measures to protect depositors and policyholders in the event of a failure of a financial institution by making provision for a Financial Claims Scheme applying to general insurers and authorised deposit-taking institutions, and broader crisis management arrangements to enhance the options available and facilitate the management of financial institution failures.

The Bills implement recommendations of the HIH Royal Commission (2003), the Council of Financial Regulators (2005), the International Monetary Fund (2006) and the Financial Stability Forum (2008).

Reasons for Urgency

The Australian financial system is strong, well-capitalised and well-regulated, as indicated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

In light of ongoing market turbulence and announcements made by other countries in recent days it is necessary to give confidence that Australian deposits are safe and to ensure that all available arrangements are in place for financial system regulators to deal with any distress that may occur in the financial system.

(Circulated by authority of the Treasurer)

Question agreed to.