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Thursday, 29 March 1979
Page: 1288

Mr N A Brown (DIAMOND VALLEY, VICTORIA) -I ask the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs: Has his attention been drawn to the concern of the Victorian Football League that the Trade Practices Act has been invoked in a dispute regarding the clearance of three footballers? Is there not a danger that the use of the Trade Practices Act will have a damaging effect on sport in general and on Australian Rules football in particular? Was it ever the intention that the dead hand of the Trade Practices Act should intrude into sport as well as into business? Will the Minister give consideration to having the Trade Practices Act amended to exclude sporting organisations from the provisions of the Act?

Mr FIFE (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs) - The question raised by the honourable member for Diamond Valley appears to be based on a case that is presently before the Federal Court of Australia. In the circumstances I do not propose to make any reference to that matter. The National Football League of Australia and the Victorian Football League have both made representations to me regarding this matter and I have agreed to receive a deputation. It has also been put to me that this Parliament, when legislating in the trade practices area, did not intend that the sporting activities of Australia would be caught up by this legislation. I was not a member of this Parliament when this legislation was considered, so I am unable to comment on that proposition. I propose to ask my department to look closely at the records of the debates that took place at the time to see whether there is any evidence to suggest that the Parliament intended that sporting bodies should be caught up by the provisions of the Trade Practices Act. I also propose to have discussions with my colleague the Minister for Home Affairs, who is the Minister responsible for sport, to see what his attitude is in relation to the proposition that the Act be amended to exclude sporting bodies. I am unable to say what will result from these discussions but I indicate to the House that I take the representations seriously and I will carefully examine them.

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