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Thursday, 19 June 1930

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . -I move-

That the following new clause be inserted: - " 55a. At the request of any owner of a policy in any company, the Registrar may require the company to furnish particulars as to the financial position or transactions of the company, including that of any item in the balance-sheets."

The need for some such provision is borne out by experience. No reputable company should object to give to any shareholder the fullest information as to its finances. The ordinary balance-sheet of a company is not very explanatory. In most instances a great many items are grouped together and the statement without an explanation is not comprehensible by the average person. It seems to me to be the essence of fair play that the directors of professedly democratic mutual companies should not be allowed to treat policy-holders with contempt by refusing to explain what any particular item in a balance-sheet means. I have already admitted that it is extremely difficult to define what is a satisfactory answer to any question, and instead of insisting, as first I intended, that such information may be demanded by any policy-holder at the annual meeting of a company, I have come to the conclusion that the case will be met by an amendment which gives the Registrar authority to require a company to supply information to the policyholders or shareholders. It is reasonable that those who are interested in a company should be supplied with all the information desired by them as to its finances. I hope Senator McLachlan will accept the amendment.

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