From the Principal’s Desk – Fabbro Talks (April 2023)
March has come and gone and Easter is upon us!
The practice of the Law continues to be challenging and busy, the issues clients face are many and varied and it is rewarding to play a role in resolving or aiding the resolution of the many issues clients face in their business or personal lives.
We have had some interesting matters, some positive and some less so, with clients selling their business and transitioning into retirement, it is pleasing to see the fruits of their life’s work culminate in a nice nest egg to enjoy a well-earned retirement. With some clients, unfortunately, the opposite can occur. Dealing with the tragedy of failed businesses and the fallout from same, is something we are often called upon to assist with. It is always difficult to see the impact these failures have on individuals and their families.
I’ve had to deal with the ramifications of people providing personal guarantees to Banks in relation to business failures this month and it is not fun. It makes me think people should always be very careful before giving personal guarantees. Often at the time of granting them everything seems quite rosy, however once provided they are very difficult to withdraw and if uncapped, the amount for which the guarantee has been granted can become considerably greater than the guarantor ever anticipated.
Dealing with business difficulties early is always advantageous.
We are noticing the Tax Office is becoming considerably more pro-active in collecting debts owed to it and we have been called upon to consider their recovery action in recent months. Getting ahead of the Tax Office and their recovery action is again a better way to deal with cashflow issues that may be impacting one’s ability to meet their tax obligations. We have seen the use of statutory demands by the Commissioner of Taxation against Companies with significant long-term indebtedness to him; once a statutory demand is issued it places the relevant Company recipient of such a demand in a precarious position. Speaking with your accountant or other advisor early about difficulties with meeting your tax obligations can avoid the cost and consequences of simply avoiding the problem and placing one’s ‘head in the sand’.
The First Nations Voice Bill has been introduced into South Australian Parliament and passed both Houses and is awaiting Royal assent. South Australia loves being a first mover when it comes to this kind of significant reform and has been at the forefront of significant reform in many areas over a long period of time. The ramifications of this new Act will be interesting to observe as will the ongoing debate over the proposed amendment to the Australian Constitution to give First Nations people a voice in Federal parliament.
Having sensible legislation approved by Parliament already involves considerable negotiation with independent senators, many of whom may perhaps a level of power which far outweighs their representative base. Further complicating the legislative process by the introduction of an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament is an issue upon which reflection should be had. What if the Voice is not listened to? Will there be cries of tokenism and further complaint? Aboriginal representation in the Federal Parliament itself has never been higher. There are currently eleven Parliamentarians who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander which represents 4.8% of politicians Federally. This is in fact higher than the percentage recognised in Australia itself, which currently is reported as being 3.2% (statistics sourced from the Australian Parliament website as at August, 2022). It seems a good start to having the interests of First Nations people participate in the formulation and debate upon legislation in all areas.
Whatever the outcome of the referendum I do feel for the situation for First Nations people and hope that failure of the referendum, which is entirely possible given the historic lack of success when voting for Constitutional change, doesn’t cause greater division and discouragement to First Nations people. My preference is for effective policies to assist First Nations peoples have the support and services to improve their situations, whatever that may be and wherever they may be. That’s clearly no easily achieved objective, but seeking the input of First Nations people in the development of such policies, I understood, was not historically foreign without the need for the legislative process of government to potentially become significantly more complicated by the introduction of a Voice to Parliament, whose parameters and limitations remain somewhat uncertain.
As with most things in life, the devil is always in the detail. It will be interesting to observe what controversies arise out of the voting system adopted in the South Australian Act, there may be quite a ruckus about entitlement to vote and the voting and nomination process. A distraction from meaningful assistance to outcomes for First Nations people is exactly what is not needed.
Time will tell the story!
I trust all our valued clients past and present have a fantastic and safe Easter and enjoy a healthy and successful month of April, and as always if you are in need of any assistance in matters legal … we’re here to help!
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