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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 994


Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - Clause 92 permits a corporation to apply to the Trade Practices Commission for what is known as a clearance. I suppose it can best be described as an application to the Commission for an authority to enter into a contract where there is uncertainty that if the contract were entered into it might offend against the provisions of clause 45. This provision permits the Commission to grant a clearance indicating that it would not be contrary to the provisions of that clause. The purpose of our amendment-I do not read it out at length, because it is a fairly long amendment- is to substitute 2 new sub-clauses in place of subclause (2). Its purpose is to ensure that when an application for clearance is made the Commission shall deal with it within a certain time. We suggest it is reasonable for the Commission to deal with the application within 30 days of it being made. As we read the clause at the present time a corporation may ask for a clearance and the application may rest with the Commission for months. A corporation may give notice to the Commission and the Commission may, at any time, give notice in writing to the corporation stating that the arrangement, or contract, or understanding which is proposed will have such a slight effect upon competition that it should not be deemed to be in restraint of trade. The obligation in the 2 sub-clauses which I have mentioned, namely, proposed new sub-clauses (2) and (2A), is to ensure that a notice may be given and the Commission shall reply to that notice within 30 days. We submit that is a reasonable time for this to be done. I move:

Leave out sub-clause (2), substitute the following new sub-clauses:

(2)   Where a corporation so gives notice to the Commission, the Commission shall within 30 days after receiving the notice (or within such longer period as is agreed upon between the Commission and the corporation), give notice in writing to the corporation stating whether or not the Commission considers that the contract, arrangement or understanding is, or the proposed contract, arrangement or understanding would be, in restraint of trade or commerce within the meaning of section 45. (2a) Where a corporation has given a notice to the Commission under sub-section ( I ) and the Commission gives notice to the corporation in accordance with sub-section (2) stating that the Commission considers that the contract, arrangement or understanding is not, or the proposed contract, arrangement or understanding would not be, in restraint of trade or commerce within the meaning of section 45, the contract, arrangement or understanding shall be deemed not to bc in restraint of trade or commerce for the purposes of this Act.'.







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