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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 1755

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that an inspector of the New South Wales Corporate Affairs Commission has stated that the New South Wales AttorneyGeneral intervened in a case in which the inspector was on the verge of investigating certain activities of the Alexander Barton Company group operations? Further, is he aware that efforts to arrange a joint interview between Alexander Barton and his legal representatives, McCaw and Johnson, were quashed by the New South Wales Attorney-General? I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he can suggest any avenue in which the Australian Government can expose and punish such examples of financial buccaneering.

The PRESIDENT - Senator Mulvihill,I have warned you about this already. You are asking the Attorney-General for a legal opinion. I call on the Attorney-General to answer the question as far as he can.

Senator MURPHY -Really, the matters which the honourable senator raises are matters which are under the New South Wales law and come within New South Wales administration at the moment. As to what the Australian Government can do about financial irregularities and malpractices under corporation law, I state that it is the intention of the Government to proceed with legislation for securities and exchange regulation. It is intended to have a securities and exchange commission and also to have a national companies law. The supervision and prevention of malpractices would appropriately be dealt with by the laws relating to companies and by the supervision which would be expected to be had by a securities and exchange commission. I believe that such supervision is long overdue, in order that the malpractices to which the honourable senator has referred may be largely prevented and certainly minimised.

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