Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 6 May 2014
Parliamentary Record 12
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 6 May 2014 4064 explanation which comes somewhere close to what we would expect. Mr TOLLNER: The Attorney-General has been very good and Googled the Corporations Act. For the benefit of the member of Wanguri, I might give her the meaning of a corporation: Subject to this section, in this Act, corporation includes: (a) A company; and (b) any body corporate (whether incorporated in this jurisdiction or elsewhere); and (c) An unincorporated body that under the law of its place of origin, may sue or be sued, or may hold property in the name of its secretary or of an office holder of the body duly appointed for that purpose. I will go on: (2) Neither of the following is a corporation: (a) an exempt public authority; (b) a corporate sole. (3) To avoid doubt, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation is taken to be a corporation for the purposes of this act. I hope that provides a good explanation. Mr ELFERINK: By definition, a corporation is soulless. Ms MANISON: Going back to the relevant entity definition, if you truly wanted to reduce the fear people have about what will happen to Power and Water Corporation assets beyond this structural separation, why can you not proceed with this legislation having the definition of a relevant entity as a government owned corporation? Why do you need to have other definitions? Mr TOLLNER: I am not the one creating fear about this; that is other people in this place. We have been upfront in saying we are not privatising any aspects of the Power and Water Corporation. Mr WOOD: I heard your definition, and this might be an unusual question, but when you were giving an explanation can the government have a body corporate? I tried to Google it last night, but I am not as good at Googling as the member for Port Darwin. Is a body corporate only a private company? Mr TOLLNER: We cannot think of an instance where that is the case, but I have been advised it is drafted to be as broad as possible to allow whatever flexibility is required to ensure we achieve a proper structural separation. Ms LAWRIE: If the drafting is as broad as possible to allow any scenario, as you have just said, it allows the sale of all or some assets to a corporation. You said it is as broad as possible. Mr TOLLNER: No, it is only a transfer. Ms LAWRIE: Can you categorically rule out that this provision does not allow you, as shareholding minister, to sell all or some of the assets to a corporation? Mr TOLLNER: Absolutely. Ms LAWRIE: It is just a transfer within government-owned relevant entities? Mr TOLLNER: It is within government ownership. Any sale of any corporation would have to come, by virtue of this legislation, into parliament for debate. The government has been very clear in saying we are not selling the Power and Water Corporation or any of the new entities being created. Ms LAWRIE: Have you received legal advice to that effect, Treasurer? Mr TOLLNER: I do not need legal advice to that effect. I sit in Cabinet and it has been very upfront in telling people we are not selling any aspect of Power and Water. Ms LAWRIE: You are providing us with advice that a sale of assets, or some assets, would need to come back to parliament. The provisions here, as broad as they are, in your own description, with the advice you have provided on what corporations are under the 2001 Commonwealth legislation do you have legal advice, to satisfy parliament, which could back up the advice you are providing during the committee stage? This could be provided either today or at a later stage. Mr TOLLNER: As I said, we have made a decision that we are not selling Power and Water. We do not need legal advice to say that; it is like me asking you if you will provide legal advice that you are not going to the moon this weekend. Ms MANISON: With regard to a government owned corporation, after it transfers assets to a subsidiary, a statutory corporation, a corporation
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