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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 2316

Senator RAE (TASMANIA) - Has the AttorneyGeneral's attention been drawn to the judgment given yesterday by Mr Justice Eggleston in relation to resale price maintenance? If so, can the Attorney-General explain why the result should appear to place an Australian bookseller in a different position from the bookseller in other countries which have similar legislation?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am aware that after a long hearing and after considering his judgment the Chairman of the Trade Practices Tribunal yesterday delivered judgment in which he refused the application of a certain person, on behalf of the book industry, for exemption from the resale price maintenance provisions of the Trade Practices Act. I have not read the judgment although I have read the Chairman's synopsis of the judgment. He quite clearly indicates that his decision was reached by balancing what he would acknowledge to be some problems in some areas which would arise by the refusal of the exemption and, on the other hand, the reduction of prices, particularly in the case of school text-books, which he believes would flow from the decision. But that is only a short statement of a very long judgment. Before being able to answer the honourable senator's question as to why the result in Australia is different from the result of an application for exemption in the United Kingdom, T would have to read that judgment and make my assessment in the light of the judgments here and there. All I say is that the chairman of the Trade Practices Tribunal heard this case. He heard evidence over a period of many weeks from many witnesses, and the judgment he arrived at, I am sure, bears the mark of his distinguished competence which has been displayed in many other judgments.

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