Melbourne Law School - Theses

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    Some legal aspects of Australian trade with and investment in Fiji
    Bailey, R. G ( 1970)
    This work examines only some of the legal aspects of Australian trade with and investment in Fiji, most of it in fact being devoted to a consideration of investment rather than trade. The viewpoint adopted throughout is that of the Australian corporate investor. Considerations of space have precluded any attempt to deal exhaustively with matters affecting investors, let alone exporters. Selection of subject matter has therefore been based on the criteria of interest, importance and/or uniqueness. The first chapter deals mainly with the background features against which investment in the Colony will occur. Its inclusion is justified on the basis that the function of the lawyer in the present context is not restricted to an examination of existing law but encompasses, for example, an examination of the possibilities of perhaps drastic law reform in relevant areas. Essential to such an examination is a knowledge of background conditions in the Colony. Illustrative of the fluid state of matters discussed, was the announcement in March, 1970 by Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited that it may divest itself of its Fijian holdings in 1972. This came in response to the Denning award which set up a new scheme of payment to cane growers by the company. It has variously been interpreted as a means of exerting pressure for the future adoption of a pricing structure suitable to the company, and as a statement of positive intent designed to foreshadow expropriation. Further, an announcement setting a specific date for independence may be expected in the near future. A consideration of the exchange control laws and policies of Australia and Fiji ends the chapter. The first part of the second chapter concerns the choice confronting the investor as to the constitution of its investment. Reference is made to various factors likely to influence that decision. The second part of the chapter deals with the organization of a Fijian subsidiary company, reference being made to the incorporation process and to provision that might be made for local equity participation. The third chapter discusses the problems of commercial financing in the Colony and the possibilities of obtaining finance from government and international sources. No consideration is given to commercial financing in Australia. It also refers to the types of securities that might be expected and given and, having regard to the possibility of either local or institutional equity participation, discusses matters affecting the relationship between a company and its minority shareholders. The fourth chapter discusses the various incentives that are made available either to investors in Fiji or exporters from Australia. The fifth chapter discusses restrictions affecting investors in Fiji either directly or via their personnel, and also deals with matters governing the employment of personnel in the Colony. It should be added, firstly, that dollars and pounds have been used interchangeably where Fijian currency is discussed. The Colony switched to decimal currency in January, 1969, but all Fijian legislation dealt with here is expressed in the old currency. Secondly, Fijian legislation is sometimes cited as e.g. "the Fiji Companies Ordinance" or simply "the Companies Ordinance". The former citation is used mainly where it serves to avoid confusion. The latter is perfectly correct. Thirdly, there is no regular system of law reporting operating in the Colony. Finally, most references to Australian companies legislation adopt the term of convenience "the Uniform Companies Act 1961", consequent on the passage, in each State of the Commonwealth, of Companies Acts similar to the Uniform Companies Bill, produced in 196I by consultation between State and Commonwealth Ministers.