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Wednesday, 12 December 1973
Page: 2730

Senator COTTON (New South Wales) - I think that the Government and the Opposition could pass this Banking Bill (No. 2) 1973 without very much argument, although other honourable senators may wish to involve themselves in the debate. The Opposition has had the opportunity of studying the Bill and feels that it can accede to it. What the Bill really does is pick up and continue some of the acts which the previous Government felt were necessary. Investments should not be allowed if, obviously, they are associated with some method or device of avoiding or perhaps defrauding the revenue. Nobody in a Government scene or in an Opposition scene wants this sort of thing. The Bill is quite a clear expression of intent. We believe that its provisions are wise and necessary. Accordingly the Opposition supports the measure.

A number of observations are made in the second reading speech to which I do not need to advert again. I understand clearly the reference in the Minister's second reading speech to the fact that the Reserve Bank will not refuse approval once a person has obtained clearance from the Taxation Office. That seems to me to establish quite clearly that when a bona fide investor, in this sense, is able to establish his bona fides there will be no let or hindrance against him. I think it is clear to us all that we would want to do everything that we could to safeguard the revenue. In these days when tax havens are being established in various places we want to do what we could to assist. I believe that this will not be the last of such Bills and that later we will see other attempts which may be necessary to cover the situation in other Territories. But those who have studied this matter have known for some time that the New Hebrides was arising as a place where people were seeking to avoid their obligations by transferring their ownership and possessions to that condominium. Accordingly, as I said when I began, we support the measure. We see no reason why it should not pass through the Senate immediately if that is the wish of the Government.

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