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JAM | Jun 2, 2023

Don Wehby | Should we adopt the UK approach to read Auditor’s Report at shareholder meetings?

/ Our Today

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Government Senator Don Wehby making his contribution to the debate on the Petroleum (Amendment) Act 2019, in the Senate on July 5, 2019. (Photo: JIS)

Making his contribution to the debate on the Companies (Amendment) Act 2021, Senator Don Wehby mooted whether the Auditor’s Report should be read in full at shareholders’ meetings, thus taking up time that could be better used discussing issues of the company.

Below is his statement on the matter:

“Mr President, I am an accountant by profession and believe firmly that in the interest of transparency and accountability that shareholders should have the information available for them to ask informed questions. So, I think that we can find a middle ground where we create efficiency in the administration of the meeting while ensuring shareholders rights are not negatively impacted.

The question is therefore, whether with the changes in international reporting standards, we should adopt the UK approach to the reading of the Auditor’s Report.

That approach allows the Auditor’s Report to be treated in the same way as the financial statements are currently treated. That is, to be laid before the members at the meeting, and taken as read, bearing in mind that those reports would have been previously published by companies in their annual report. Alternatively, the legislation could allow a summarised or abridged version of the report to be read which would highlight key information. This approach would make more time available to discuss other governance issues and the future of the company.

Mr President, in closing, I commend the government on being proactive in amending the legislative framework to allow for virtual and hybrid general meetings. I also support further amendments to the legislation to strengthen the business framework to create efficiencies and a more business friendly environment.”


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