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Wednesday, 8 December 1965

Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) .- The Minister and the rest of us have got on pretty well up to date, but I think he is straining our patience a little too much and imagining that we are a little too naive in the present situation. He has described, again very vividly, the possibility of a manufacturer who may have an interest in a shipping line enjoying a freight rate for transporting his goods to Australia which is so low that it enables him to sell those goods in Australia at such a price that he is, in effect, dumping the goods. The Minister ignores altogether the possibility that exactly the reverse might happen; there might be collusion between manufacturers and a shipping company to bring goods to Australia at an excessive freight rate. According to the Minister there is a possibility of this wicked collusion only when it results in what amounts to dumping. He ignores it completely in relation to the other kind of freight rate - the excessive one that we are talking about. I believe that I appreciate what is involved. If the Department of Customs and Excise is to be satisfied about whether goods are dumped it has to be able to compare freight rates. It has to be able to look at them realistically and be satisfied that they are normal. But when it is doing this it has to take into account two kinds of freight rates - the alleged dumping one, which is the low one, and the normal one, which is considerably higher. I suggest that the possibility of collusion between the parties is just as great in respect of the normal high rate as it is in respect of the abnormal low rate. I would not object so much to collusion if now and again it produced rates lower than those that it does produce.

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