Chapter 1 - Introduction
This report examines the following three bills:
the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Bill
2005 (the 2005 Bill);
the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
Consequential, Transitional and Other Measures Bill 2006 (the Transitional Bill);
the Corporations Amendment (Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander) Bill 2006 (the Amendment Bill).
The three bills form an interrelated package. The 2005 Bill was
introduced into the House of Representatives on 23 June 2005. It is intended to repeal and replace the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 (the
ACA Act) and improve the governance and capacity of Indigenous corporations.
The two 2006 bills complement the 2005 Bill. As its title indicates, the
Transitional Bill provides for measures to assist Indigenous corporations to adapt
their operations from the requirements of the 1976 Act to the requirements of
the 2005 Bill. The Amendment Bill amends the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure
the 2005 Bill interacts appropriately with the Corporations Act.
In addition to the bills, the Minister for Families, Community Services
and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Mal Brough, provided the committee with draft Parliamentary
Amendments to the 2005 Bill which will be introduced during the committee
stages of the consideration of the bills. These amendments were originally provided
confidentially and reflect, in part, issues that emerged during the committee's
inquiry during 2005. Subsequently, the minister authorised their publication to
help promote transparency about the proposed changes to the 2005 Bill.
On 6 September 2005, the Senate referred the provisions of the
Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Bill 2005 (the 2005 Bill) to
the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee for inquiry and
report by 12 October 2005.
The committee held a public hearing in Canberra on 4 October 2005.
On 11 October 2005, the committee agreed to extend the reporting date to
the first sitting day in 2006. On 8 December 2005, the committee agreed to
seek leave to further extend the reporting date to 30 March 2006. On 7 February 2006, the reporting date was further extended to 14 September 2006.
The extensions of the reporting date were intended to allow the Bill to
be considered in conjunction with an exposure draft of the Transitional Bill. The
Transitional Bill was introduced into Parliament on 14 September 2006, along with the Amendment Bill.
On 14 September 2006, the Senate referred the provisions of the
Transitional Bill and the Amendment Bill to the committee for inquiry and
report by 9 October 2006.
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee advertised the inquiry for the 2005 Bill in The
Australian newspaper on 14 September 2005, and invited submissions
by 19 September 2005. Details of the inquiry, the Bill, and associated
documents were placed on the committee's website. The committee also wrote to
over 30 organisations and individuals.
The committee received 17 submissions which are listed at Appendix 1.
Submissions were placed on the committee's website for ease of access by the
The committee held a public hearing in Canberra on 4 October 2005. A list of witnesses who appeared at the hearing is at Appendix 2 and copies of the
Hansard transcript are available through the Internet at http://aph.gov.au/hansard.
On 14 September 2006 the committee tabled an interim report on the 2005 Bill
and stated it would present its final report to the Senate on 9 October 2006.
On 19 September 2006 the committee advertised the inquiry for the 2006
bills in The Australian newspaper and invited submissions by 25 September 2006. In addition to placing details of the inquiry on the committee's
website, the committee wrote to all organisations and individuals that made
submissions to the 2005 Bill. The committee also wrote to State premiers and
Territory chief ministers inviting them to comment on the bills.
Structure of report
Chapter 2 of this report summarises the 2005 Bill, while chapter 3
summarises the 2006 bills and the draft Parliamentary Amendments.
In chapter 4 the committee discusses the key issues that arose during
the inquiry, and in chapter 5 the committee presents its views on all three
bills and the draft Parliamentary Amendments.
Note on references
References in this report are to individual submissions as received by
the committee, not to a bound volume. References to the committee Hansard are
to the official Hansard: page numbers may vary between the proof and the
official Hansard transcript.
The committee thanks those organisations and individuals who made
submissions and gave evidence at the public hearing.
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