Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1309 ..
MR OSBORNE (6.47): I think this whole motion was my office's fault, so I feel compelled to say something. Mr Speaker, my attitude is that I have no problem with anything in the Assembly being broadcast. My understanding is that someone came round to my office and one of my staff - I will not name him, because he has just walked out of the chamber and might hear me - made a decision not to broadcast it. I was tempted to take a stick to him and beat him round the head, because this obviously was the most important issue of the day, apart from estimates and a few other things, so I would have thought that he would have paid more attention to this. Unfortunately, he did not.
Mr Speaker, we have passed this legislation and I think you should be able to make a decision rather than check with us. My understanding is that the issue of the fast train was broadcast, but I was not asked about that. I think you either make a decision or you do not. That is why I will be supporting this motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (6.49): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to present the Stamp Duties and Taxes (Amendment) Bill 1998.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I present the Stamp Duties and Taxes (Amendment) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MS CARNELL: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, this Bill makes important amendments to the Stamp Duties and Taxes Act 1987. These amendments are essential in removing any doubt about the validity of collecting stamp duty from share buyback transactions under that Act. Mr Speaker, the ACT Government has been collecting stamp duty on share buybacks since these transactions were first authorised by the Companies Act 1981, that is, from 1 November 1989. This has been done on the basis that a buyback transaction comes within Part V of the Stamp Duties and Taxes Act 1987.
Earlier this year the Victorian Court of Appeal, in what is known as the Coles Myer decision, held that under Victorian stamp duty legislation a share buyback did not attract a duty liability. This decision was arrived at on the basis that such a transaction did not involve a transfer within the meaning of the Victorian legislation. Mr Speaker, while a decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal is not determinative of the meaning