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The company secretary may be a director unless the articles of association provide otherwise. The role of the secretary is to keep the minutes of meetings and ensure that board decisions are carried out properly. Because the secretary knows so much about the company, they have a legal obligation to treat all its business, including board transactions, as absolutely confidential. FINANCIAL RECORDS For the most part, a small proprietary company no longer has to prepare and lodge annual accounts. The exceptions are if 5 per cent of shareholders request it, the ASC requests it, or the company is foreign-owned and does not satisfy the relevant requirements.

Directors cannot be required to make their YOUR BUSINESS AND THE LAW 34 own further investigations or to `audit' the accounts provided, unless they have particular responsibilities or expertise, and they can only be required to seek more information if the company's accounts, together with any other information from the company's executives, put them on inquiry. One of the ramifications of this judgment is that family assets can no longer be assumed to be beyond the reach of business creditors simply because they are, say, in a spouse's name.

Trade Practices Act and Fair Trading Acts The federal Trade Practices Act and the State Fair Trading Acts may provide a remedy for you against a franchisor who has behaved badly. However, the sale of goods from a franchisor to you will not normally be a consumer transaction, and so may not be covered by the consumer protection provisions. Franchisors must comply with the law with regard to competition. In particular, the law states that: ACQUIRING A FRANCHISE ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ 51 A franchisor may require that you stock only its products or approved products, but only if this does not have the effect of substantially reducing competition in the marketplace.

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