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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr CONNOR (Cunningham) .- The amendments that have been proposed by the Attorney-General illustrate the difficulties in which the Government, having disregarded the original Barwick proposals, finds itself. Originally it was proposed that this should be an inexcusable, unlawful practice. In other words, it was to be an offence. It has been demoted from that position; now it is to be merely an examinable practice. The complexity of this particular provision, the obvious dissatisfaction of supporters of the Government, and doubt about the results of its interpretation are the best proof of my contention.

This legislation may be a mixed blessing. This practice may be difficult to prove in certain cases. In the very great area where individual monopolies undoubtedly have complete control, notably such sections of industry as steel, sugar, glass and paper manufacture, this provision is capable of instant and immediate application. But. as Professor Richardson has pointed out, in other cases there might be considerable difficulty in relation to proof. In particular, domination of at least one-third of a particular category of goods might be very difficult to prove. It might be difficult, first, to define what that category is and then to make an actual assessment of the volume of goods being produced. However, I leave this to the Attorney-General with the certain knowledge that the Government, with its majority, will be able to force the amendment through.

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