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Tuesday, 9 December 1986
Page: 3588

Senator WATSON —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Given the unprecedented spate of takeovers and the near monopoly positions enjoyed by certain companies, will the Government give consideration to the creation of an anti-monopolies commission in Australia, similar to that in the United States or, as a minimum, strengthening the present powers of the Trade Practices Act?

Senator BUTTON —We did strengthen the powers of the Trade Practices Act in relation to takeovers not so long ago. Opposition members voted on the legislation which went through the Senate.

Senator Gareth Evans —They opposed it.

Senator BUTTON —Opposition members opposed it, as I recall. I do not know what has touched off this question and put the moon at full in Senator Watson's mind on this issue. I think that the evidence shows that there has not been a spate of takeovers in the last few months compared with the previous six months or so. The current Herald and Weekly Times Ltd proposed takeover might have aroused the honourable senator on this matter, but I do not think the facts support what he said in his question. The Government is not currently giving any attention to either of the issues he raises. We believe that the present situation is adequate at this time.