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Wednesday, 25 May 1977

Mr YOUNG (Port Adelaide) - Like the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Antony Whitlam), I think it is of great significance that this Government, which came to power on the wave of being generous to business, understanding business and representing business, has been forced to retain section 49, dealing with price discrimination, at the behest, perseverence and representation of the Australian Labor Party. The small business people who came to Canberra were duped into believing that it was not necessary to give evidence to the Swanson Committee in relation to consolidating section 49 of the Act. They then found that the Swanson Committee, without any representation from the people who were affected, recommended to the Government the deletion of section 49. The Government, having a heart much closer to the Swanson Committee than to the people who were affected, carried out the views of the Swanson Committee. It was left to this side of the chamber- it just shows the force occasionally of 36 votes to 91 votes- to convince the Government, not on the most important aspects of the Bill, but that section 49 and the protection given by it to the small business people ought to remain. It has been retained as a result of the representations and perseverence of the Australian Labor Party.

Let me refer to the matter raised by the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman), who referred to trade associations with fewer than 50 members. Unfortunately this Parliament has been somewhat shocked by the shabby treatment this Bill is receiving from the Government. Knowing the mentality of most honourable members opposite I can understand that they would rather go home to bed than consider the laws being written by them. Nevertheless, this may be another case where the Government has ignored the role of the small business person. The Minister said in his second reading speech that it was the managerial back-up, so called, that was lacking in small business which encouraged the Government to write in the provision relating to trade associations of 50 or more members. However, it ignored the people who may belong to associations of 50 or more people and ignored the people in associations which did not have that number. Consider the liquor trades and the major retail stores. I do not know whether David Jones Ltd has lack of managerial back up or whether the Australian Hotels Association has lack of managerial back up, but this is a provision which can be used against the smaller business person. It has been used against him in the past prior to the operation of the Act and it will be used against him again. The Government has ignored this. It does not want the measure exposed and that is why it has moved the gag on this Bill. The Opposition supports section 49 as it stands. It is in accordance with our representations to the Parliament. It has been successful. Unfortunately the Government has ignored the representations on many other sections of the Act but, nevertheless, the Australian Labor Party was successful with this section.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 25.

Section 50 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section substituted-

"50.(1) ....

"(3) A reference in this section to controlling or dominating a market for goods or services shall be construed as a reference to controlling or dominating such a market either as a supplier or as an acquirer of goods or services in that market. "(4) Where-

(a)   a corporation has entered into a contract to acquire shares in the capital, or assets, of a body corporate;

(   b) the contract is subject to a condition that the contract will not come into force unless and until the corporation has been granted an authorization to acquire the shares or assets; and

(c)   the corporation applied for the grant of such an authorization before the expiration of 14 days after the contract was entered into, the acquisition of the shares or assets shall not be regarded for the purposes of this Act as having taken place in pursuance of the contract before-

(d)   the application for the authorization is disposed of; or

(   e ) the contract ceases to be subject to the condition, whichever first happens. "(5) For the purposes of sub-section (4), an application for an authorization shall be taken to be disposed of-

(a)   in a case to which paragraph (b) of this sub-section does not apply- at the expiration of 14 days after the period in which an application may be made to the Tribunal for a review of the determination by the Commission of the application for the authorization; or

(b)   if an application is made to the Tribunal for a review of the determination by the Commission of the application for the authorization- at the expiration of 14 days after the date of the making by the Tribunal of a determination of the review. ".

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