Opinion Number. 1072

Subject

WAR PRECAUTIONS INFORMATION IN RESPECT OF OVERSEAS COMPANIES TO BE FURNISHED TO COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS BY AGENTS IN AUSTRALIA: MEANING OF REPRESENTATIVE OR AGENT'

Key Legislation

WAR PRECAUTIONS ACT REPEAL ACT 1920, s. 19

Date
Client
The Comptroller-General of Customs

The following letter from the President of the French Chamber of Commerce, Sydney, has been forwarded to me by the Comptroller-General of Customs for advice:

In connection with the recently issued War Precautions Act Repeal Act, under which agents and representatives in Australia of oversea firms and companies are required to furnish certain particulars in regard to the companies or firms which they represent, I should be glad of advice as to whether the Act mentioned is intended to apply in cases where, e.g. a company or firm in France sends a representative to Australia to purchase wool or other produce on its account, and places at the representative's disposal a credit to cover purchases.

Apart from the credit there would be no assets or liabilities in Australia on account of the oversea firm and the representative would be merely acting in the capacity of employee to such firm.

I might state that I am acting in this matter on behalf of quite a number of representatives concerned, and it is desired to point out that, at any rate in the case of representatives such as those described herein, the demand made by the Act appears to be rather impracticable, as it is hardly likely that an oversea company or firm would be prepared to divulge its business-including its capital-to any outside person, even though such person be an employee.

I would be glad if this matter could be considered, with a view to if possible relieving French representatives of the class mentioned above from the necessity of furnishing the information.

In my opinion the expression 'representative or agent' as used in section 19 of the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920 includes any person acting in such capacity in the Commonwealth and carrying on any portion of the business of his oversea principal, whether his employment in that capacity be of a temporary character or not, and whether or not his activities are confined to one only of the branches of his principal's business.

[Vol.17,p.323]