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Wednesday, 31 March 1965

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) .- I rise chiefly because the previous speaker has stated that I am aware of reasons why there should be approved lenders, meaning that I am aware of reasons why there should be approved lenders in the sense staled in the Bill. That imputes to me the offering of an argument based on convictions that are not genuinely held by me.

Senator Murphy - 1 do not think I put it in that way.

Senator WRIGHT - That suggestion I repudiate, scotch and destroy. Senator Murphy's observations would detach the definition of approved lender from the immediately succeeding clause, clause 5, in a manner which I would expect no lawyer to suggest. When you find printed in the definition that I seek to expunge, " approved lender means a person approved by the Corporation under the next succeeding section ", to suggest that that does nol immediately drive you to write in the next succeeding clause 5 into the definition is just to fly in the face of words. Clause 5 requires that the Corporation may approve a person being a person included in an approved class of lenders. Sub-clause (1.) says that the Minister is the person to declare; it gives the Minister the power to declare classes of persons, and this is obviously incorporated in the definition that I seek to expunge.

I just wish to state a series of propositions that are so transparently obvious that it engages me to try to divine any line of reasoning upon which a contrary proposition is submitted. What I am objecting to is that you give the Minister power to declare classes of persons who are to be sole beneficiaries of this legislation, not on any criterion of integrity or propriety. If that were stated, nobody would object to it. If somebody who observes proper standards of integrity and offers security on proper terms, applies and is therefore entitled to an approval, nobody would object to the Minister's having the final say. But the criterion here is entirely within the uncontrolled discretion of the Minister. He has indicated that for the present the approval will be limited to banks, life insurance companies and building societies. He says that as time goes on other classes of lenders will almost certainly be approved. There is not the slightest suggestion that they are to be approved according to their conduct specified by law as to conditions of integrity and propriety of terms of lending. There is every unmistakable indication that the Minister seeks the power by instrument in writing. There is not even provision that it shall be published in the "Gazette", although the Corporation's notice of approval is required to be published in the " Gazette ". The Minister, by instrument in writing, may declare a class on any terms he thinks fit.

So much I deem fit to say in response to the submission of Senator Murphy, but I rise also to bring to the notice of the Committee something within the experience of this Government in which Senator Sir William Spooner had a considerable hand, which completely refutes the judgment that he offered to us on this occasion. I refer to a novel insurance - export payments insurance^ - instituted by this Government. We created an entirely new corporation based upon the model of the experience of the Board of Trade in London. Did we ask there for the Minister to approve by instrument in writing the classes of persons to whom the Export Payments Insurance Corporation would give insurance? No; on the contrary. By a subsequent Act in 1961, after the original Act of 1956, we empowered the Minister to direct the Corporation, where it was in the national interest, to make insurance contracts which the Corporation might otherwise not have wished to make. The people we define by that Act as the beneficiaries of the insurance for their export payments solvency, are all persons carrying on business in Australia, and the insurance is against risk of monetary loss or other monetary detriment attributable to circumstances outside the control of the person suffering the loss or detriment, and resulting from failure to receive payment in connection with or otherwise arising out of acts or transactions in the course of or for the purpose of trade with countries outside Australia. If it is not necessary to specify classes for that rather special kind of insurance, where, in relation to a field of liability which Senator Sir William Spooner himself says affords little risk if care is taken, is the need to give the Minister power by instrument in writing to declare classes, thus discriminating in favour of persons who are nominated and against those who are not nominated?

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