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Tuesday, 7 December 1965

Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- I do not know how long it is intended to continue the Liberal seminar on trade practices in this Parliament. I hesitate to rise again, but I feel it is necessary to do so because of the efforts of the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) and the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), who moved the amendment now before the Committee, to break down further the requirement to register agreements, to which the Committee has already agreed. Clause 43 imposes penalties and provides a number of defences for those who, on the registration of agreements, feel that they have some complaint. But the honorable member for Moreton in his amendment, supported by the honorable member for Isaacs and the honorable member for Sturt, wants to abolish the penalty and wants to add to the defences. In fact, the honorable member for Isaacs went as far as to ask the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) to delete Part V altogether. To do so would mean the complete elimination of the requirement to register agreements. If this amendment is carried, the need for the registration of agreements will be removed.

Mr Haworth - We will have the New Zealand method.

Mr DALY - That does noi make it perfect. New Zealand has a Tory Government, and the honorable member would not expect me to agree with it. It is hard enough for me to agree with the Government on this Bill, but at least there is some basis for agreement. If the Government accepts the amendment, it will mean that a person who is guilty of improper trade practices can carry on indefinitely until by accident he is discovered. In other words, there will be no registration to give the Attorney-General and his officers a chance to know at once what the situation is. I would like to know why the honorable members want to destroy completely a requirement that is essential to the workings of this very broken down, weak attempt to control trade practices.

I thought that over the week-end honorable members on the other side might have seen the light and that those honorable members who appear to be disgruntled would have found reasons for dropping their opposition to the Bill. But at this early stage it would appear that they are to continue with their campaign to sabotage every vital provision of the Bill. If the provision requiring the registration of agreements is removed, if added excuses are included in the provision and if the penalties are removed, the effect of the Bill will be nullified, particularly as a provision relating to the Australian Industries Preservation Act has already been taken out. I do not want to say any more but I appeal to the good sense and tolerance - if there is any left - of honorable members opposite to accept what I understand to be the overwhelming majority view of their parties and accept this legislation. To make it any weaker than it is will be an insult to the intelligence of the Australian people. I should like the two honorable members concerned - not on this clause, as I think we have heard enough, but some time during the course of the debate - to let us know just what interests are behind them seeking to break down this legislation in the face of public clamour for action against restrictive trade practices.

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