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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8683


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (20:02): This is relevant to the amendment, and I would like to put on the record that I do not support the first part of the amendment. I think the $5 million threshold is a reasonable threshold. The reason I say that is—and I am not sure if any of the advisers' hair is grey enough to have a corporate memory going back to the 1960s and 1970s. I doubt it, I think—

Senator Cormann: There are some grey people there, though.

Senator XENOPHON: No, the grey hair in the advisers box.

Senator Wong interjecting

Senator Cormann: Penny and I are going grey.

Senator Wong: But I am older than him.

Senator Cormann: Only just!

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: I cannot stop the love in the air. It is just a nice change!

Senator XENOPHON: My understanding is that up until about 1970s—about 1973, 1974—the threshold was $1 million. And the rationale behind a $5 million threshold now is that it is in the order of about $5 million if you allow for inflation. It works out to be about a factor of four or five. The rationale has served us well to have that $1 million threshold for many years, but I do think it is very worthwhile to have a review of the section, and I commend my crossbench colleagues for putting up that amendment. I will be supporting the second part of that amendment and I think it will get up, which is going to be very useful.

The minister says there will be a stocktake. I appreciate that. That is very welcome. I think Senator Lazarus, Senator Lambie and many of us welcome that stocktake. Firstly, approximately how long do you think that stocktake will take? Secondly, will the result of that stocktake be in a form that is easily accessible to members of the public, such as published online? Thirdly, how do you determine what is in a stocktake if a foreign company has a minority shareholding in a multimillion dollar, large agribusiness enterprise? Does that have to be registered, or is it only for majority shareholdings of a foreign company that it ends up in the register?