Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Selection of Bills Committee; Report

5:18 pm

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On behalf of the Chair of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, Senator Coonan, I present a report and Alert Digest of the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills.

Ordered that the report be printed.

I seek leave to move a motion in relation to the report and to incorporate a tabling statement in Hansard.

Leave granted.

I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

The statement read as follows—



24 February 2010

In tabling the Committee’s Alert Digest No. 2 of 2010 and Second Report of 2010, I draw the Senate’s attention to some provisions of the Corporations Amendment (Financial Market Supervision) Bill 2010 and of the Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010.

The Corporations Amendment (Financial Market Supervision) Bill 2010 will implement a significant change in the supervision of financial markets by providing that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission will undertake this role.

Proposed section 798G will allow ASIC to make market integrity rules. These rules can deal with a wide range of circumstances relating to the activities or conduct of licensed markets and associated people and financial products. A market integrity rule can only be made by legislative instrument with the written consent of the Minister. A market integrity rule may include a penalty up to $1 million.

The explanatory memorandum states that the regime is designed to allow ASIC to make rules to cover new and emerging issues as markets change and that the potential to impose a penalty ranging up to $1 million is appropriate as this reflects the broad range of matters which the market integrity rules are expected to cover.

The Committee acknowledges the reasons outlined in the explanatory memorandum for this approach, but usually prefers that matters of this significance would be identified in more detail in the primary legislation.

The Committee leaves to the Senate as a whole the question of whether it is appropriate for ASIC to be given such a broad ability to make market integrity rules.

However, the Committee considers that the power to make market integrity rules could be supplemented by including in the primary legislation some general minimum requirements or a framework for the content of these rules. For example, without unduly constraining ASIC’s ability to make market integrity rules the bill could include requirements for any such rule to specify its purpose, to whom it applies, to detail the conduct the subject of the rule, to explain if fault is required and to ensure that any penalty is adequate and appropriate.

The Committee has sought the Minister’s advice on whether this type of approach might be considered.

The Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010 also seeks to introduce a significant change by implementing a national system to assign healthcare identifiers for consumers and providers.

Proposed subsection 9(1) will authorise a service provider to assign a number to a healthcare provider or recipient and proposed subsection 9(4) provides that the service operator is ‘not required to consider’ whether the provider or recipient agrees.

The bill also includes provisions authorising parties to disclose healthcare identifiers between parties in some circumstances.

The Committee recognises that the bill is implementing a clear policy decision and leaves to the Senate as a whole the question of whether these provisions unduly trespass on personal rights and liberties.

The Committee also has questions about whether the bill should provide the ability to review a decision under subclause 9(1) to assign an identifier and about the rationale for delegating, without providing a justification in the explanatory memorandum, the ability for regulations to impose a penalty of up to 50 penalty units for contravention of a regulation.

The Committee has sought the Minister’s advice about these provisions.

I commend the Committee’s Alert Digest No. 2 of 2010 and Second Report of 2010 to the Senate.

Question agreed to.