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Wednesday, 1 December 1965


Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) .- This clause gives the short title of the Bill. In many ways it sets the tone of the whole Bill. It summarises very clearly the extent to which the objectives of this legislation have been eroded over the last six years. It will be remembered that when the legislation was first forecast in the Governor-General's Speech at the opening of Parliament in March 1960 it was stated -

The development of tendencies to monopoly and restrictive practices in commerce and industry has engaged the attention of the Government which will give consideration to legislation to protect and strengthen free enterprise against such a development.

The same wide objective was maintained until the Administrator's Speech opening the Parliament on 7th March 1961 in which it was stated - my Attorney-General has been examining the possibility of Commonwealth legislation to protect free enterprise against the development of tendencies to monopolies and restrictive practices in commerce and industry.

At the end of that year the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) giving the policy speech of the Government Parties on 15th November stated -

We desire, in co-operation with State Governments, to do something to protect and strengthen free productive and business enterprise against monopoly or restrictive practices.

When the Governor-General opened the next Parliament on 20th February 1962 he stated -

Discussions between Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General in relation to monopoly and restrictive practices in business are continuing.

It will be noticed that every statement made by the Prime Minister, by the GovernorGeneral or by the Administrator referred, for two years, to monopolies and restrictive practices. That was the scope of the legislation which the Government was proposing, which thrice was put by the Head of State when opening the Parliament, and which was put by the Prime Minister at the first election after the legislation was forecast.

The same words continued in use by the former Attorney-General, Sir Garfield Barwick, now the Chief Justice of Australia. On 6th December 1962 the House was given a statement about his proposals for legislation on restrictive practices and monopolies. In a paper delivered to the 13th Legal Convention held by the Law Council of Australia at Hobart in January 1963 Sir Garfield Barwick wrote on some aspects of Australian proposals for legislation for the control of restrictive trade practices and monopolies. In a speech at the convention he again used exactly the same terms. He used them in the printed version that he made available to honorable members and to the community.

On 16th August 1963 Sir Garfield Barwick delivered a speech - the G. L. Wood Memorial Lecture - at the University of Melbourne, entitling it, " Australian Proposals for the Control of Restrictive Trade Practices and Monopolies ". In the same month he published a booklet with exactly the same title, containing two tables - one a table of the basic forms of practices which had come directly under the notice of the Commonwealth Government and the other a table of practices that had been reported by the Tariff Board and by other boards of inquiry - and concluding with a bibliography. The speeches and the papers of Sir Garfield Barwick were all printed. They have been widely circulated. Until two and a half years ago the public was promised legislation to control monopolies and restrictive practices.

Last May we were given the present Bill - the Trade Practices Bill. The short title of the Bill clearly shows the extent to which the Government's proposals have been watered down, the extent to which the Government has succumbed to outside pressure and the degree to which the father of the legislation has been betrayed.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 2 and 3 - by leave - taken together.







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