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Thursday, 2 December 1976

Mr Antony Whitlam (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I want very briefly to call in aid the views of another person to the effect that the exemptions, with conditions, are an important part of the operations ofthe Prices Justification Tribunal in Australia. In today's edition of the Australian Financial Review,Mr Russell Scott writes:

It has developed a system of granting conditional exemptions, particularly for retailers.

This frees a retailer from the impossible task of notifying the PJT of every price variation of every product on sale, but usually involves the duty to lodge regular accounts and financial information showing profit figures.

In other words, although the retailer is able to increase rices without telling the PJT, the PJT receives regular (e.g. alf-yearly) -

I trunk it is more often quarterly- profit and trading information which would allow it to carry out an inquiry if it wished, or to revoke the exemption.

Mr Scottsingles out retailers. The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Howard) will know that this applies to other industries as well. I think that when Mr Scott wrote that article he took the optimistic view about the Government's alterations to the legislation. He had in mind only the legislation introduced on 11 November. If he had been aware of proposed new sub-section 1 8 ( 8bb) or of the effect of paragraph 2 (c) of clause 16 of this measure, he would have thought that the effect would be to destroy effectively prices justification in Australia.

Amendments agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Remainder of Bill- by leave- taken together.

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