Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to provide for a Parliamentary Joint Committee to investigate establishing an Australia Fund, and for related purposes
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Registered 18 Mar 2014
Introduced HR 17 Mar 2014

2014

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australia Fund Bill 2014

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Clive Frederick Palmer MP


Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australia Fund Bill 2014

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this bill is to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate establishing an Australia Fund.  Such a fund would be designed to assist in the support and reconstruction of Australian rural and manufacturing industries in times of crisis, including natural disasters, (such as drought, floods and bushfires) or in cases of a world financial crisis or unfair market intervention/manipulation.

 

It is envisaged that the Australia Fund would have the ability, on the basis of an assessment of the industry and/or businesses, to provide emergency and on-going drought/flood/bushfire relief, loan money to businesses, act as a guarantor for loans, capitalise or waive interest, purchase existing bank loans, and assume control of relevant property of the business for a specified time.  In this way, the Fund would be designed to enable businesses to continue operations to earn revenue, employee workers and pay taxes, rather than be prematurely wound up, and support communities affected by natural disasters.

 

It would also provide funds for industry and/or company restructuring and the acquisition of new technologies to make businesses more economically viable and internationally competitive.

 

As part of its investigation as to the need for the fund, the Committee would undertake hearings in all capital cities and major rural centres and specifically examine the impact on rural Australia of on-going drought and world market price fluctuations for primary industry produce.

 

The Committee’s terms of reference would also include reviewing existing bankruptcy and insolvency laws with the aim of introducing legislation designed to assist companies to trade through difficult times, rather than be closed down.  The existing taxation laws relating to bankruptcy would also be reviewed. The possible introduction of the equivalent of the United States Chapter 11 provisions would also be investigated.

 

Administrative support to the Committee could be provided by the House and/or Senate Departments.

 

At the completion of its enquiry the Committee would table before Parliament a detailed report of its findings and recommendations.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - provides for the Act to be called Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australia Fund Act 2014

 

Clause 2 - provides for the Act to commence when it receives the Royal Assent

 

Clause 3 - provides a simplified outline of the Act – to establish the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australia Fund. The Committee is to investigate whether a body, to be known as the Australia Fund, should be established, and the appropriateness

 

Clause 4 – lists definitions

 

Clause 5 – outlines the Committee

 

Clause 6 – provides for the nomination of committee members

 

Clause 7 – provides for the appointment of Committee members

 

Clause 8 – outlines the process for the ceasing of Committee membership

 

Clause 9 – lists the functions of the Committee – including investigation into whether a body, to be known as the Australia Fund, should be established to support rural and manufacturing industries in Australia in times of crisis and support communities affected by natural disasters.  The Committee would also assess the efficacy of existing bankruptcy or insolvency laws.

 

Clause 10 – provides for the powers of the Committee

 

Clauses 11 to 14 – sets out the standard rules for the conduct of meetings of the Committee, including calling of meetings, quorum and voting.

 

Clause 15 – provides for other powers and proceedings of the Committee.

 

Clause 16 – outlines a Sunset provision for the Act to cease to have effect immediately after the Committee tables its final report in each House of the Parliament.

 

Clause 17 – provides for the Minister to make relevant rules regarding the Act, by legislative instrument.

 


 

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australia Fund Bill 2014

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to establish a Joint Committee to investigate the need for establishing a special purpose fund (Australia Fund) to assist in the support and reconstruction of Australian rural and manufacturing industries in times of crisis, including natural disaster and world financial crisis.

 

 

Human rights implications

This Bill/Legislative Instrument does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

 

Conclusion

The Bill is compatible with human rights because it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

 

Clive Frederick Palmer MP

Member for Fairfax