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Costello’s arrogance knows no bounds.

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Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Shadow Assistant Treasurer Shadow Minister for Revenue Shadow Minister for Banking and Financial Services 20 May 2005

Costello’s arrogance knows no bounds

Peter Costello’s declaration that he intends to proceed with his plans to soften third-line forcing laws, despite concerns from small business groups, is a display of

stunning arrogance. Third-line forcing is the practice of offering goods or services

on the condition that a client purchases other goods/services from a third party.

The proposed changes to Section 47 of the Trade Practices Act will reduce

consumer and small business protection without any substantial public policy

justification. The Government claims that in some circumstances, third-line forcing

can enhance competition.

That is true. But such circumstances are already condoned by the ACCC under the

“notification” process. Shopper dockets are the obvious example.

But under the “notification” system, the ACCC can revoke its approval at any time.

Under Peter Costello’s prosed model, the ACCC will need to prove that the

arrangement will lead to a “substantial lessening of competition in a market” A very

hard thing to do.

The Treasurer’s plan further will further enhance the market power of larger

businesses at the expense of small business and consumers.

Contact: Joel Fitzgibbon 0418 293 372 Brendan Long 0408 421 447