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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3125

Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Agriculture) - It should be acknowledged that it would be impossible to enact legislation which would bring about the water tight position that Senator Greenwood seems to seek. Obviously courts will vary in their findings. Individual lawyers and judges will vary in their interpretation of what is just and equitable. But the Government has a prime responsibility, as I mentioned earlier, to ensure that the legislation is as effective as it can possibly be. We have the option of taking no action. I do not think the Government could be expected to do that simply because of the possibility of various findings by a court or judges. That is my understanding of the position.

Under the present legislation, in the absence of the proper exchange control authority, not only could a transaction between a resident of Australia and an overseas resident be illegal and subject to penalty under the Banking Act; it could also be null and void. In most cases where proper exchange control authority is not obtained the persons involved would be unaware of the need to obtain approval, and in many cases the absence of exchange control approval would not present a problem to the parties concerned. The fact that such contracts could be invalid could lead to people using the alleged invalidity of such transactions to renege on their debts for other obligations. Clearly this would be undesirable. Clauses 5 and 6 of the Bill were designed to validate transactions already entered into without exchange control approval. It is really a matter of the Government going virtually as far as it possibly can in providing the security of the legislation. Despite the fact that there could be some areas as indicated by Senator Greenwood where difficulties could arise in the future I do not believe it would be possible, and it certainly would not be desirable, for this Parliament to reject the legislation and therefore reject the Government's intention to make it as practical and as effective as possible.

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