Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1793 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Ethical investing is not currently mentioned in the FMA. Some might think that focusing solely on wealth creation or protection without reference to the means by which the wealth is created is not entirely responsible. I make this comment to contribute to the ongoing discussion of how we look at money and how we understand its creation.
This amendment does not, in itself, change this state of affairs. Trusts are exempted from the relevant clause, recognising that the purposes of trusts may be different or more various than those of investment. Trusts are governed separately and have specific guidelines to ensure probity, or at least that investments on behalf of trusts be done sensibly and with all due process.
The second major change made by this bill is to formalise a way for the annual and financial reports to report sensibly on departments where there has been an administrative change during the year. The Treasurer can authorise a change in the presentation of information in a simple way. A committee noted difficulty in interpreting statements after changes to the health department this year.
The third change proposed is to formally permit fees to be paid to the investment brokers working on behalf of the territory. It is standard practice for brokers to return to their client the investment returns. There is some kind of fee; it is called netting of return. That is, we get the return less the costs, the broker's fee, of our investments.
This amendment makes clear that we do not require a statement of appropriation to make the payment of these fees allowable. We will, I understand, still be able to access information about the fees paid and the brokers used, as with other business conducted on behalf of the territory. Public trading enterprises and territory authorities are included in these changes.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (8.57), in reply: Firstly, I want to talk about the speech of Mr Stefaniak. It was simply dreadful and Mr Stefaniak must have nearly choked on it. He is a lawyer and he does know that the law is an ass and he does know that, from time to time, it is necessary to build pedantry into the law. As Ms Tucker pointed out, the definition of investments has been changed as a flow-on from the saga of the Bruce, now Canberra, Stadium.
It is presented only on the basis of a recommendation by the Auditor-General which the government has picked up. If the Assembly does not want to pass it, I am happy, as we have tried. Maybe I can build a Bruce Stadium tomorrow by using section 38 and prostituting the definition of what I am investing in.
The other amendments are designed, not for pedantry, but for clarity to allow changes to the presentation of financial information to this place when administrative change has taken place should there be a reshuffle after the Treasurer has run amok, having just finished the budget and needed to be replaced. Members complain here and in the estimates process about the clarity of statements. This is designed to provide clarity. Again, I have tried. If you do not want clarity, that is fine by me.
Ms Tucker: I am not complaining.