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Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) (Termination Day) Amendment Bill

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 18 May.)

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 17:26 :08 ): I rise to speak to the Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) (Termination Day) Amendment Bill. I speak on behalf of my Liberal colleagues. I indicate that the opposition will support the passage of the bill. The bill before the chamber amends the Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act, which refers legislative power from South Australia to the commonwealth to enact the Corporations Bill 2001 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Bill 2001 as law extending to each state, and to make express amendments to those acts regarding forming corporations, corporate regulation and the regulation of financial products and services.

The above powers (made pursuant to section 51 of the constitution and with referrals from all other state parliaments) create the basis for the national regulation of corporations and financial products and services. The corporations scheme commenced on 15 July 2001 and replaced the national scheme laws. All states have enacted referral legislation in accordance with section 51(xxxvii) of the constitution, that being the federal constitution, referring the relevant power to the commonwealth parliament.

This bill is necessary because the referrals of power supporting the scheme terminate on the 15th anniversary of the day of the commencement of the corporations legislation, which will be 15 July 2016. The bill extends the references of power for a further five years, until 15 July 2021. It has previously been extended in 2005 and again in 2011, in both instances for five-year periods. Unless extended by the parliament, South Australia would cease to be a referring state and part of the corporations scheme.

The government asserts that, if South Australia ceased being a referring state, the extent to which corporations legislation would continue to apply within South Australia would be uncertain. Further, this uncertainty would also undermine any attempt by the state to establish its own system of corporate and financial regulation, as any South Australian laws would be invalid, to the extent they are inconsistent with a valid commonwealth law. I indicate to the chamber that the Liberal Party supports the bill. It will not be seeking amendments. I do not have any specific issues to raise during the committee stage.

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