The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Chris Pearce

Chris Pearce

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

26 October 2004 - 3 December 2007

Media Release of 08/12/2005

NO.046

PEARCE ANNOUNCES CORPORATE GOVERNANCE REFORMS

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Chris Pearce MP, today announced that the Government will proceed with legislative reforms to improve rules for shareholder meetings. The announcement follows an extensive consultation process.

"Draft legislation was circulated for comment earlier this year, and the Government has taken on board the comments received" Mr Pearce said.

The Government intends to remove the '100 member rule', which requires companies to hold expensive special general meetings at the request of only 100 shareholders.

"There is broad business support for this reform. It strikes an appropriate balance between facilitating shareholder participation and managing costs for companies" Mr Pearce said.

The Government will also proceed with reforms to require proxy holders to vote in accordance with shareholder instructions, and to facilitate electronic circulation of resolutions and members statements.

The Government will not proceed with proposals to reduce the threshold requirements for shareholders to propose members' resolutions and members' statements.

"Groups such as the Australian Shareholders Association raised concerns that such a change could make general meetings larger, longer and less focussed. Accordingly, we will not proceed with this element of the package at this time."

The Government will continue to monitor shareholder participation, and review this area of the law in three years, with a view to assessing the impact of the reforms on shareholder participation.

Mr Pearce thanked all those that made submissions on the proposals, saying "These reforms are the product of industry consultation. I look forward to future contributions from stakeholders, which can only add value to any law reform process."

CANBERRA
8 December 2005

Contact: Gillian Harvey (03) 9887 3890