Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 Mr Reed: Not Dalway? Mr BELL: Dalway. I thought it would ring a bell with somebody. Members interjecting. Mr BELL: Little would one expect that an otherwise innocuous amendment like this could get the government going. However, it seems members opposite have certain sensitivities about some matters that have only to be inferred, not directly stated, and they start to get twitchy. It is important to place on record that the power that is given to the minister administering this act to authorise investments should not be seen as a carte blanche discretion to invest. In fact, I was a little concerned about the inconsistency with the ministers second-reading speech. From memory - 1 do not have chapter and verse in front of me - he did not inform the Assembly that he had a discretion in respect of these investments. For that reason, I draw it to the Assemblys attention. That is the main point of this amendment, and the opposition supports that change. I mention in passing that the drafting error that has been corrected in this bill has been somewhat less than complete. I point out to the Attorney-General that clause 3 has a reference to a subsection that is simply not there. There is a reference to subsection (c) of section 95. There is no subsection (c) of section 95. I am not sure if the minister has a copy of the principal act, but I draw his attention to some other drafting errors. When I was doing some research on the bill, I noted that division 1 of part 12 - part 12 being a fidelity fund - in the body of the act is referred to as a division related to educational schemes whereas, in the index to the act, it is referred to as the consolidated interest account. The minister should be aware that there is no longer a consolidated interest account and those sections have been repealed. Although the purpose of educational schemes is being retained, it seems to me that this section of the act is in need of slightly more radical surgery than this bill provides. I hope that, at some time, the minister will have the Department of Law, the Real Estate Institute and the Parliamentary Counsel look at those problems. When they do so, I would recommend that a more thorough-going approach to authorised investment of this fund be considered. The basic idea behind this amendment is supportable and the opposition does support it, but I point out to the minister that, in my view at least, the act in its current form is in somewhat of a state of disarray. There are a number of issues that could be addressed. Let me point out that the investment power that the minister has under section 94 is not restricted in any way. One final point that I would like to make is that subsection (6) empowers the minister to determine the manner in which the moneys of the fund are to be invested. It seems to me that subsection (6) should be brought into line with something like the Trustee Act. I am not suggesting that here, but I think that there should be some clarification of the restrictions at that point. I will endeavour to make this my last point. It relates to the definition of the fidelity fund. As the minister said in his second-reading speech, and as the bill indicates, the fund is in fact a body corporate. The natural meaning of fund is a sum of money. I would have thought that it would clarify the operation of that section of the act if there were a clear 3311

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