Opinion Number. 1545


application of insurance acts to papua: application to ‘Territories of the Commonwealth’: test to ascertain whether a territory is ‘a territory of the Commonwealth’: mandated territories

Key Legislation

Insurance Acts 1932 s 4: Constitution s 122: Papua Act 1905 Preamble, ss 5, 7: Acts Interpretation Act 1901 s 17

The Assistant Secretary, Department of the Treasury

The Assistant Secretary, Department of the Treasury has submitted the following memorandum to me for advice:

  • I desire to inform you that the Lieutenant-Governor of Papua recently made representations on behalf of the Coral Sea Insurance Co. Ltd., of Papua, with the view to the Insurance Acts 1932 being amended so as to exempt the Company from its liability to make a deposit under that law.
  1. By direction of the Assistant Treasurer, the Lieutenant-Governor was advised in reply that, in order to protect the interests of all policy-holders, other Companies carrying on insurance businesses in Papua were required to lodge deposits calculated on the aggregate premium income received by them in the Commonwealth and in the Territory. There did not appear to be any good reason why this protection should not be afforded to holders of policies issued by the Coral Sea Insurance Co. Ltd. and the Government was not prepared to amend the law to exempt that Company from its provisions.
  2. Mr R. D. Bertie, Solicitor, of Papua, has now raised the question whether, under section 4, the Insurance Acts 1932 do extend to Papua. I am enclosing a copy of his notes on the question and should be glad of the favour of your advice as to whether the Insurance Acts 1932 extend to the Territory of Papua.
  3. It may be mentioned that, in the committee stage of the Insurance Bill, Senator McLachlan stated that under Clause 4 the Act would extend to the Mandated Territories. Similarly, in the House of Representatives, the Right Honourable S. M. Bruce intimated that under that Clause the Act would apply to all of the Territories of the Commonwealth.
  4. As the Chairman of the Company proposes visiting Australia and interviewing the Prime Minister in October next, on the subject, I should be obliged if this matter could receive your early attention.

The point upon which my advice is sought is whether the Insurance Acts 1932 apply to Papua.

The Constitution provides (section 122) that ‘the Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory