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STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS
27/07/2007
Corporations (National Guarantee Fund Levies) Amendment Bill 2007 and related bills
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS
Senate committee
Friday, 27 July 2007
Corporations (National Guarantee Fund Levies) Amendment Bill 2007 and related bills
Final

CHAIR (Senator Ronaldson) —Good morning. I declare open this meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics. This hearing has been convened to receive evidence in relation to the inquiry into the following bills: the Trade Practices Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2007 and the Trade Practices Amendment (Predatory Pricing) Bill 2007; the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Regulation and Review) Bill 2007; the Tax Laws Amendment (2007 Measures No. 4) Bill 2007 and related bills; the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Discretionary Mutual Funds and Direct Offshore Foreign Insurers) Bill 2007; and the Corporations (National Guarantee Fund Levies) Amendment Bill 2007. The committee will receive evidence for these bills in the order that they are listed.

These are public proceedings, although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken, and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may, of course, also be made at any other time.

These proceedings will commence with evidence from Treasury. I remind senators that the Senate has resolved that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth or of a state shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy, and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted. Any claim that it would be contrary to the public interest to answer a question must be made by a minister and should be accompanied by a statement setting out the basis for the claim.

[9.07 am]