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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY BILL 1994
COMMONWEALTH AUTHORITIES AND COMPANIES BILL 1994
AUDITOR-GENERAL BILL 1994
AUDIT (TRANSITIONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS) AMENDMENT BILL 1995

Order of the day read for the further consideration of the bills in

committee of the whole.

In the committee

COMMONWEALTH AUTHORITIES AND COMPANIES BILL 1994--

Consideration resumed of the bill--and of the amendment moved by Senator

Chamarette:

Before clause 21, page 10, insert the following clause:

Commonwealth authorities, subsidiaries and executive officers to act in

the public interest

"21A.(1) A Commonwealth authority and its subsidiaries must, at all

times, act in the public interest.

"(2) An executive officer of a Commonwealth authority must, at all

times, act in the public interest in the exercise of his or her powers

and the discharge of his or her duties in relation to the authority or

its subsidiaries.

"(3) In this section, "acting in the public interest' includes meeting

the reasonable expectations of the public that:

(a) the authority and its subsidiaries will, over time, and

consistent with their other statutory obligations, act to

maximise the extent to which they benefit the public; and

(b) an executive officer will use his or her best efforts to ensure

that the authority and its subsidiaries act in a safe, ethical,

efficient, effective and accountable manner.".

Debate resumed.

Senator Chamarette, by leave, moved the following amendments together:

Before clause 42, page 19, insert the following clause:

Wholly-owned Commonwealth companies and directors to act in the public

interest

"42A.(1) A wholly-owned Commonwealth company must, at all times, act

in the public interest.

"(2) A director of a wholly-owned Commonwealth company must, at all

times, act in the public interest in the exercise of his or her powers

and the discharge of his or her duties in relation to the company.

"(3) In this section, "acting in the public interest' includes meeting

the reasonable expectations of the public that:

(a) the company will, over time, and consistent with its other

statutory obligations, act to maximise the extent to which it

benefits the public; and

(b) a director will use his or her best efforts to ensure that the

company will act in a safe, ethical, efficient, effective and

accountable manner.".

After clause 46, page 20, insert the following clause:

Injunctions to protect the public interest

"46A.(1) In this section, "defaulter' means a Commonwealth authority

or its subsidiary, or a wholly-owned Commonwealth company or its

director, or an executive officer.

"(2) If a defaulter has acted, or is proposing to act, in a way that

was not or would not be in the public interest, within the meaning of

section 21A or 42A, a court of competent jurisdiction may, on the

application of a person affected or likely to be affected by that

conduct, grant an injunction restraining the defaulter from engaging

in the conduct and, if in the court's opinion it is desirable to do

so, requiring the defaulter to do a particular thing.

"(3) If, in the opinion of the court it is desirable to do so, the

court may grant an interim injunction pending determination of an

application under subsection (1).

"(4) The court may discharge or vary an injunction granted under

subsection (1) or (2).

"(5) The power of the court to grant an injunction restraining a

defaulter from engaging in conduct may be exercised:

(a) whether or not it appears to the court that the defaulter

intends to engage again, or to continue to engage, in conduct of

that kind; and

(b) whether or not the defaulter has previously engaged in conduct

of that kind.

"(6) The power of the court to grant an injunction requiring a

defaulter to do a particular thing may be exercised:

(a) whether or not it appears to the court that the defaulter

intends to refuse or fail again, or to continue to refuse or

fail, to do that thing; and

(b) whether or not the defaulter has previously refused or failed to

do that thing.".

Debate continued.

Question--That the amendments be agreed to--put and negatived.

Senator Spindler moved the following amendment:

After clause 28, page 13, insert the following clause:

Exemption of Australian Broadcasting Corporation from policy directives

"28A. Section 28 has no application in relation to the Australian

Broadcasting Corporation.".

Debate ensued.

Senator Spindler, by leave, withdrew the amendment.

Bill further debated.

On the motion of Senator Spindler the following amendment was debated

and agreed to:

Clause 45, page 20, after subclause (1), insert the following subclause:

"(1A) Regulations referred to in subsection (1) must not take effect

before the time within which they may be disallowed by each House of

the Parliament has expired.".

Bill, as amended, further debated and agreed to.

AUDITOR-GENERAL BILL 1994--

Clauses 1 to 4, taken together by leave, agreed to.

Clause 5--

On the motion of Senator Gibson the following amendment was debated and

agreed to:

Clause 5, page 2, before definition of "Minister", insert the following

definition:

" "Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit' means the Joint

Committee of Public Accounts and Audit established under the Public

Accounts Committee Act 1951;".

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 8, taken together by leave, agreed to.

On the motion of Senator Gibson the following amendment was debated and

agreed to:

After clause 8, page 3, insert the following clause:

Auditor-General and Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

"8A. The Auditor-General should, so far as is practicable:

(a) have regard to audit priorities advised by the Committee in

accordance with paragraph 8(1)(h) of the Public Accounts

Committee Act 1951; and

(b) have regard to any reports of the Committee made in accordance

with paragraph 8(1)(j) of the Public Accounts Committee Act

1951.".

Clauses 9 to 13, taken together by leave, agreed to.

Clause 14--

Senator Gibson, also on behalf of Senator Spindler, moved the following

amendment:

Clause 14, page 4, subclause (2), lines 24 to 27, omit the subclause,

substitute the following subclause:

"(2) The Auditor-General may at any time conduct a performance audit

of a Commonwealth authority that is a GBE or any of its

subsidiaries.".

Debate ensued.

At 12.45 p.m.: The Acting Deputy President (Senator McGauran) resumed

the Chair and the Temporary Chairman of Committees (Senator Herron)

reported progress.