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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2106

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) -Is the Attorney-General aware that particularly over the past decade many thousands of investors have suffered substantial financial losses through the collapse of companies in which they have invested, despite assurances which were given at the time of their buying the shares that the venture was underwritten and that the return of capital was thereby guaranteed? Ought it not to be a requisite when soliciting subscriptions to guarantee the total amount subscribed, not merely the amount sought? In other words, if a company seeks an investment of $2m and if $3m -

The PRESIDENT - Order! You must not introduce argument. Just ask your question.

Senator DEVITT - I wish to clarify the point because it is necessary to the question.

The PRESIDENT - Just ask the question.

Senator DEVITT - Where $2m is sought and a greater amount is subscribed, the guarantee should apply to the greater amount rather than to the amount originally sought. Could the appropriate law be amended to contain a provision similar to that which can be found in the law relating to estate agents' guarantees, solicitors' trust funds and other areas in which fidelity guarantee bonds are required? Will the AttorneyGeneral favourably consider such a proposal?

Senator MURPHY -Yes, I will. It is obvious that the law is deficient. The administration of such laws as exist is not enough to protect the people when those who are attracting large sums of money from the public are either negligent or dishonest. It is clear that Australia should long ago have had a securities and exchange commission, and I hope that we will have one before long and that it will be operating on laws which will ensure a great deal more protection for the public than presently exists.

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