Bankrupts will normally be eligible for automatic discharge from bankruptcy three years after filing their statement of affairs. If however, objections have been lodged with the Registrar or the Inspector General in Bankruptcy, the bankrupt may not be discharged for 5 or 8 years depending on the type of objection (s149ABankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth)). The grounds on which objections can be lodged are set out in section 149D of the Bankruptcy Act. The bankrupt may also continue to be liable for fines, or debts incurred by fraud and possibly for debts under a maintenance order. (The court does have the power to release a bankrupt from liability to pay arrears of maintenance (s153). Bankruptcy may be extended to eight years in instances in which the bankrupt fails to pay compulsory income contributions; the bankrupt fails to provide details of property or income; or the bankrupt borrows more than $5,155+ (indexed) without disclosing the bankruptcy.

If a trustee is satisfied that a bankrupt has paid all of his or her debts in full the bankruptcy is annulled. Also, if the court is satisfied that a sequestration order ought not to have been made, or a debtor’s petition accepted, the bankruptcy can be annulled (s153B(2)(c) and (2A), Bankruptcy Act).

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