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Introduction to the Report

101. During 1993, the Ministerial Council for Corporations (MINCO) decided that the present regulation of company auditors should be reviewed with a view to ensuring that an appropriate legal framework is in place for the registration, appointment, supervision and disciplining of company auditors in relation to their functions under the Corporations Law (the Law) and to ensure their independence.

102. MINCO also decided that the review should be convened by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department with other members of the review team to include senior representatives from the Australian Securities Commission (ASC), the accounting profession and the States and Territories.


103. The members of the Working Party established to undertake the review are:

  • Bob Grice, Partner, KPMG, Brisbane, representing The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA);
  • Veronique Ingram, Assistant Secretary, Companies and Accounting Policy Branch, Department of the Treasury ;
  • Brian McPhail, Director, McPhail & Partners Services Pty Ltd, Melbourne, representing the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants (ASCPA);
  • Ken MacPherson, Auditor-General of South Australia (representing the States and Territories); and
  • Bill Robinson, Member, ASC.

104. The Working Party would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution to the work of the review made by Peter Edwards, who was a member of the Working Party prior to his death in September 1995. Mr Edwards was especially conscious of the aspirations and concerns of accounting practitioners in small and medium sized firms and his contribution to Working Party discussions did much to crystallise thinking on what could and/or should be done to assist such practitioners.

105. The Working Party would also like to acknowledge the work provided by Les Pascoe in the drafting of this report.


106. The terms of reference for the review are to:

  • examine the current system of registration, appointment and supervision (including disciplining) of auditors under the Law;
  • consider whether this system is adequate or needs to be revised or replaced;
  • consider the appropriate role of the relevant professional bodies and the ASC in the current system, having regard to overseas experience; and
  • prepare a report to MINCO including any recommendations for reform.