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Thursday, 2 December 1965


Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- I desire to support the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). Again, on this clause, as on the others, I ask why the Government seeks to go round the findings and the submissions of the former Attorney-General, Sir Garfield Barwick. Most of the proposals brought down have completely rubbished those of the present Chief Justice of Australia and most of the criticism from the Government side of the Parliament has come from emminent members of the legal profession such as the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Bowen). I do not wish to take anything away from the honorable member for Parramatta but I think that Sir Garfield Barwick could leave him for dead in a court of law any day of the week, constitutionally or otherwise. If Sir Garfield Barwick said that certain proposals should have been incorporated in this legislation, then with due respect to the honorable member for Parramatta and my learned and distinguished friend, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes), I would take the view of the Chief Justice of Australia any day.

The Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) might well tell us why he has gone completely round what the former AttorneyGeneral submitted to this Parliament. Let us examine this matter. The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth) in 1962 was given authority to say in this Parliament that there would be in this Bill all that was necessary in order to control restrictive trade practices. He made one of the best speeches he has ever made because it was written for him by somebody else. -In this speech, delivered on 6th December 1962, he said that he expressed personally the views of the present Chief Justice of Australia on elements of the scheme. One matter that he mentioned was -

Limitations on right to membership of trade associations.

He gave a list of practices which would be required to be registered. There were five other practices in that list. This was the sixth. The other five are included in the Bill. But this sixth one, which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition by his amendment seeks to include, has been eliminated. Does not that prove that the Government is sham fighting? We have seen opposition to this legislation, which should be agreed to almost unanimously. We have seen members of the Country Party as silent as the grave. They refuse to support members of the Liberal Party in their fight against this legislation. We have seen members of the Cabinet refusing to support the AttorneyGeneral. As the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall) did in his letter in respect of the wool reserve prices plan referendum, they want to rubbish this legislation and to beat it if they possibly can.

I suggest that the Attorney-General should tell us why Sir Garfield Barwick's submission on this point is not incorporated in this legislation. Why does the AttorneyGeneral oppose the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition? Sir Garfield Barwick, in dealing with the matter that is now under discussion, did not make idle submissions to the Parliament. He never did that. He was a great asset to the Liberal Party. Why it got rid of him is beyond my understanding. It could well do with him now. When we consider the efforts of the present Attorney-General and see the contempt with which his views are treated bymembers of his own party, we realise what an asset to this Parliament the present Chief Justice of the High Court was.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! I remind the honorable member for Grayndler of the comment that I made to the honorable member for Hindmarsh. The Chief Justice of the High Court is not responsible for any of the legislation that is before the Committee. I suggest that honorable members avoid reference to the Chief Justice.


Mr DALY - I suppose, Mr. Chairman, that, as you have been so over-whelmingly upheld by honorable members, it would not be right to dispute your ruling. I think I would be in order in referring to the former Attorney-General. The former Attorney-General did not idly present this legislation to the Parliament. Before he did so, he considered investigations of trade associations. One such investigation was the inquiry by Mr. Justice Richards into the timber industry in 1955. Sir Garfield also considered an investigation made by a Western Australian royal commission in 1958, and inquiries into automotive parts and timber millers and merchants in 1960. The present Attorney-General, at the request of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, gave answers on the Tasmanian royal commission of 1965 and on the Tariff Board inquiry of August 1963 in respect of tiles.

Now we see submitted to this Parliament in this Bill a clause which completely disregards the inquiries made in respect of those associations. Why has the Government sidestepped the issue? Have the powerful interests behind the Government decided that the proposals put forward by the former* Attorney-General cannot be incorporated in this legislation because that would make it effective? Is there a sinister motive behind this? Does not the Government want this legislation to work? If the Government [really wants it to work, why cannot the Government accept the amendment that Was moved so ably by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition?

There are about 1,200 trade associations in this country. Unless one can get into those trade associations, he cannot exist as a business or industry. The trade associations control not only a person's future in the industry - whether he will survive or not - but also the prices at which the consumers shall buy and generally the prices at which the commodity, or whatever is involved, shall be available to the public. I suggest to the Attorney-General that there is real substance in the amendment that has been moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, particularly when the former Attorney-General - a much more notable member of this Parliament than any present Government member of it - incorporated this point in his scheme because he believed it was necessary in order to give justice to the Australian community.

I would like the Attorney-General to tell me whether the agreement that I mentioned yesterday - an agreement between the Australian Oversea Transport Association and 22 shipping companies, which completely ties up freight rates and everything else associated with the export of Australian products, particularly primary products, and which is one of the most vicious agreements of its kind - would come within the scope of this legislation. I wonder whether members of the Country Party will stand up in their places and defend the Government for not bringing an agreement such as that within the scope of this legislation.

I suggest that the Attorney-General has no answer to the submissions that have been made from this side of the Committee on the amendment that has been moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I suggest that the Attorney-General has given no assurance to the Committee that, by rejecting that amendment, he will provide protection for the people who want it against the 1,200 trade associations and various other organisations which control prices and the welfare of people in industry. For petrol, tyres and those kinds of things we pay the same prices everywhere. Of course, it is too much to hope that the Attorney-General will even attempt to attack the breweries under legislation of this kind. He would probably say that that is a State matter and does not come within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.

All in all, this clause in particular, as the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) said a few minutes ago, is a sinister attempt by the Government to give the impression that it is trying to do something, whereas it is hoping that it will fail. Tonight, in the few brief minutes at my disposal, I say that we have no assurance from the Government that it even wants this legislation to work. This legislation is a completely watered down version of the scheme that the former AttorneyGeneral suggested. One charge which can be levelled against the Government, if no other can, is that the former AttorneyGeneral - a very able man and one of the best lawyers ever to enter this Parliament - said that the point contained in the amendment that has been moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition should be included in this legislation, and the Government has decided that it will not be included. The Government elevated the former AttorneyGeneral to a higher status so he would not be here tonight to put this legislation through this chamber. The reason why the Government has not incorporated this point in the legislation is that it is seeking to water down the original proposal. Half the members of the Liberal Party do not support this legislation, and the members of the Country Party have no views at all on it, one way or the other. We could not expect anything else.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! Before I call the next speaker, I point out that there is a very grave danger of some honorable members transgressing Standing Order No. 85. I suggest that honorable members give some consideration to that Standing Order.







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