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Competition law and the public interest: a perspective of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Speech to Monash University Corporate Governance Forum, 11 November 2002.

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Speech to Monash University Corporate Governance Forum

Competition law and the public interest: A perspective of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

11 November 2002


Professor Allan Fels


Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

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1 Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen.

I want tonight to make comment about competition law and the public interest.

Competition law is an important constituent element of public governance. And how

we define the role of public sector regulators to enhance public benefit is an ongoing

and significant question for the Australian community to consider.

Of course, in doing so, we understand that the public benefit is shaped and defined by

broader notions of civil society.

I know that these are areas of interest to the Monash Governance Research Unit, and

given the temper and behaviour of the times, is of interest to the general community.

In this country, competition law is underpinned by the coherent notion that competition

serves as a powerful means to achieve a desirable public end.

As I will discuss, there is strong evidence that substantial benefit has resulted from the

introduction and application of competition policy and laws. Productivity, economic

and employment growth have all been facilitated by reforms that facilitated


Our success, however, does not mean that in this area, public governance should be

static, and legislation fixed in stone.

The key message I want to leave your with is that, if the economic and social benefits

of competition are to be further enhanced then, in the area of competition law, there is

still more to do.

I structure my remarks in the following way.


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First, I will talk about the major issues of competition law and micro-economic reform.

Secondly, I want to talk about the need to enforce competition law. In doing so, I will

highlight some examples of anti-competitive conduct that have come to the attention of

the Commission and the Federal Court. The Commission strongly believes that

compliance is assisted by the public promotion of the meaning and enforcement effect

of the law. In this, we are not alone. As David Knott argued in the inaugural lecture in

July: ‘Without visible enforcement, regulation can never be fully effective.’1

I want then to canvass how the nation’s competition laws can be improved.

2. Competition law and micro-economic reform

Ladies and gentlemen.

The role of the Commission is to apply the Act in full, without exemption, and without

fear or favour. That is, we work to ensure compliance with the law and we work to

enforce the law. As an institution we are scrupulously even-handed. We apply the Act

to all, and for the benefit of all - and are unconcerned by notions of power, position or


The Commission also has a role to encourage competitive market structures and

informed market behaviour.

In this, the Commission is empowered by the provisions of the Trade Practices Act


Part IV prohibits practices such as anti-competitive agreements (including price fixing

and primary and secondary boycotts), misuse of market power, exclusive dealing,

resale price maintenance and anti-competitive mergers

1 Knott, D.: Corporate Governance - Principles, Promotion and Practice. Speech to Monash Governance Research Unit, 16 July 2002, p.6. (, 31 October 2002).


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In Part IVA unconscionable conduct is prohibited.

Part V safeguards the position of individual and business consumers in their dealings

with producers and sellers. Part V deals with unfair practice, including misleading and

deceptive conduct, product safety, country of origin claims and information standards.

Other parts of the Act include Part IVB (corporations and applicable codes of

practice); Part VII (the authorisation of anti-competitive conduct); Part IIIA (a

framework for access to infrastructure facilities, such as electricity transmission and

distribution networks); and Parts XIB and XIC, which are specific

telecommunications provisions.

In addition to the Trade Practices Act, the Commission has responsibility for the

administration of the Prices Surveillance Act 1983, and other sundry Acts of


Ladies and Gentlemen.

Over the past ten years, Australia has experienced a stellar rate of economic growth.

When compared to other OECD countries, Australia has done very well. For example,

according to the OECD, during the nineties Australia’s annual rate of growth, at

constant prices, averaged 3.6 per cent. This compares to 3.2 per cent in the United

States, 2.3 in the United Kingdom and 1.9 per cent in both Germany and France.

Now I understand that there has been an argument that our good performance has been

the result of a longtime American expansion, and that, whilst our economic vices are

definitely our own, our virtues emanate from elsewhere.

To these propositions, we may make a number of responses, but I would like to

concentrate on the observable fact that Australia has experienced an marked increase

productivity growth.


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The point Australian commentators have made is that, unlike the 1960s and 1970s, our

productivity performance during the nineties was not part of a world-wide productivity

boom. Australia was one of only three countries to experience a strong acceleration

during the 1990s.2

By dint of our own efforts we made productivity gains of three per cent per annum.

Empirical analysis suggests that reforms leading to sharper competition, a greater

openness to trade, investment and technology, and a greater business flexibility have

boosted Australian productivity.3

As well, research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

indicates that anti-competitive market restrictions may act to reduce the employment

rate by three percentage points from the OECD average. That is, anti-competitive

restrictions cost jobs.4

In Australia, some credit can therefore be attributed to competition policy and law in

generating a substantial boost to both productivity and household incomes.

Our own experience makes it clear that a well functioning market empowers consumers

by enabling them to choose the products and services they want.

A well functioning market provides opportunities for those with good business ideas,

and provides a fertile environment of innovation. Competition energises, to the benefit

of consumers, companies already operating in the marketplace. Finally, a well-

2 Banks, G.: Microreform’s Productivity Payoff. Published in ‘The Australian’, 18 February 2002 (under the heading “Complacency the enemy in maintaining the miracle”), as part of a report in advance of The Australian/Melbourne Institute Towards Opportunity and Prosperity

Conference, 4-5 April 2002. 3 Parham, D.: Microeconomic reforms and the revival in Australia’s growth in productivity and living standards. Paper presented to the Conference of Economists, Adelaide, 1 October 2002,

p.22, (, 20 October 2002). 4 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Product and Labour Markets Interactions in OECD Countries, OECD Working Paper, Working Party No.1 on

Macroeconomic and Structural Policy Analysis, ECO/CPE/WP1(2001)16, 12 September 2001.


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functioning market calibrates pricing to meet supply and demand. Consumers benefit

from cost-efficient prices and enjoy the benefits of business efficiencies.5

Now I understand that the Commission is often portrayed as a pro-consumer body that

confronts big business over unlawful or allegedly unlawful behaviour

But as well as benefitting consumers by tackling businesses, the Commission, by

enforcing the Act, works to the real benefit of the business community.

The Commission works to bring about greater competitiveness in the Australian

economy and a continuity of effort to the process of micro-economic reform. We are

involved in protecting and at times promoting competition in every sector of the

economy - from primary industries through to secondary industries and services. As

well, we regulate both government and private sector enterprises.

By doing so, the Commission is involved in micro-economic reform every day, in

every sector, and, as such, contributes directly to a higher rate of economic growth than

would otherwise have been the case.

Industry benefits from keenly priced inputs - they all want to be supplied with quality

goods and services at the best possible price. If the price is excessive, then firms and

industries are rendered uncompetitive.

We want to see a more efficient energy sector, and a more competitive

telecommunications sector.

For example, considerable economic benefits are still to be made by improving the

operation of the nation’s electricity supply industry. Such benefits would come in the

form of increased security of supply and a more efficient price for power, which

implies reduced resource costs.

5 For a full discussion see: Powell, M.K.: Consumer Policy in Competitive Markets. Speech to the Federal Communications Bar Association, Washington D.C., 12 July 2001.


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However, we all understand that the current arrangements for the National Electricity

Market are still in a state of transition. Fully competitive outcomes - the objective of

reform - are yet to be realised in the marketplace.

In fact, relative to the early nineties - the period of most energetic reform in the

electricity supply industry - recent gains have been much less. From 1988-89 to 1993-94 multifactor productivity increased at an annual rate of four per cent. This compares

to the more recent rate of 1.6 per cent.6

We need to re-invigorate the competitive process.

This is why interstate competition needs to be enhanced through enhanced

interconnection. Intrastate competition needs to be developed through additional

structural reform.

We also need faster and better progress on competition at the retail level and a

minimisation of the differing arrangements between states that are hindering the ability

of interstate players to compete. If there is to be continuing public ownership, it is

important that it not distort the ongoing development of a national market.

In this, our key objective should be to achieve a market in which government and non-government owned facilities are treated in a neutral way. An essential part of this is

strong, independent regulation that is separate and is seen to be separate from

governments who are also owners.

There is a plethora of regulation.

Each State and Territory has regulators. At the national level, we have the ACCC and

NECA, each playing a role. There is also NEMMCO, which manages the national

electricity market.

6 Parham, D.: op. cit., p.12.


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Clearly, there is scope for prudent rationalisation.

More can, and needs, to be done to achieve greater consistency amongst regulators.

Reform of Australia’s energy supply sector is of the very highest importance to the

continuing efficiency of the Australian economy. In my view it is probably the single

most important sectoral reform, and I am extremely pleased that, by way of the Parer

Review, it is receiving close attention by government.

3. Enforcing the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act

Ladies and gentlemen. I want now to report to you how the Commission enforces the

nation’s competition law. We works hard to ensure compliance with the law. It is our

major business and the area of our greatest efforts.

Currently, over 80 matters are before the courts and Australian Competition Tribunal,

of which 27 are matters of competition law.

We work hard to bring those whom we accuse of wrongdoing to court, and we work

hard to publicise the details of cases.

The reason why we speak out loud is straightforward.

The clear, public discussion of competition matters helps promote compliance with the


Explaining the law and illustrating its various uses and applications spreads the word

amongst business and consumers and helps bring about lawful behaviour and helps to

eradicate unlawful behaviour. It also demonstrates to those who fail to comply with the

law that there could be a heavy price to pay.

Given this, let me cite some examples where anti-competitive practices harmed, and

competition law benefitted, the consumer.


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Recently, following action by the Commission, the Federal Court ordered penalties of

$14.5 million against Schneider Electric (Australia), Wilson Transformer

Company and AW Tyree Transformers for their involvement in price-fixing and

market-sharing arrangements in the power transformer and distribution transformer

markets. Alstom Pty Ltd was previously fined $7 million for price fixing.

The transformer market is a significant Australian market, estimated to be worth $160

million per annum. The unlawful conduct by these companies, and by these executives

places upwards pressure on prices - directly disadvantaging producers and businesses

and families in regional areas.

In this case, efficient small businesses, amongst others, were fleeced so that these firms

could unlawfully line their pockets.

Last year, the Federal Court imposed penalties recommended by the Commission of

$26 million against Roche Vitamins Australia, BASF Australia and Aventis Animal

Nutrition. These companies were major players in a cartel that met in secret, and

agreed to put up vitamin costs.

They made admissions to the court of engaging in price fixing and market sharing

conduct in Australia involving animal vitamins A and E and pre-mix containing these

vitamins. This behaviour was a breach of section 45 of the Act.

The arrangements set floor prices for all sales of animal vitamins A and E and of pre-mix containing these vitamins.

The three respondents controlled approximately 90 per cent of the relevant market.

Customers had limited alternative sources of supply as the relevant corporate groups

are the predominant global manufacturers of these vitamins.

Restaurateurs, food processing and manufacturing companies, small and large butchers

and consumers - all paid additional costs because of this unlawful behaviour.


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To enforce the Act we also investigate and prosecute industry associations and trade


Just last week, the Federal Court made orders by consent finalising action by the

Commission against three obstetricians for a boycott of 'No-Gap' billing. The

outcome of the boycott was that approximately 200 affected patients were required to

pay a gap for the in-hospital medical expenses associated with the birth of their child

that they would not have been required to pay if the conduct had not occurred.

Almost $97,000 will be repaid to affected patients in and around the Rockhampton

region. The orders included findings that all three obstetricians engaged in conduct in

contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and/or the Competition Code of


Last year following action by the Commission, the Federal Court stated it was satisfied

that the Western Australian Branch of the AMA and Mayne Nickless had engaged

in price fixing and primary boycott conduct. The Court ordered the AMA to pay a

penalty of $240,000, and the President, and the Executive Director a penalty of $10,000


This was the first time the Federal Court imposed penalties on a professional

association for price-fixing and primary boycott conduct. I think it important, because

it sends a clear message to the medical profession and its association, as well as to all

other professional associations, that they do not stand above the law.

The issues here were not about the ethical obligations of the professions or standards or

the quality of medical treatment. Instead the issue here the abuse of market power, the

purpose of which was to unlawfully increase doctors’ incomes.

And having achieved a result against the AMA the Commission awaits, with much

interest, the decision that is to be handed down on Mayne Nickless.


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In 2001 we successfully took action in the Federal Court against the Maritime Union

of Australia. In this case, we alleged that the MUA and a number of senior officials

breached s.45DB - we alleged the MUA unlawfully hindered and prevented - or made

the attempt - to hinder and prevent vessels from sailing unless the owners/charterers

agreed to use the MUA to clean vessels’ holds. Basically, the ship didn’t sail unless it

was cleaned by MUA. Workers who considered releasing ships were called ‘dogs,

slimes and scabs’.

The court ordered the MUA pay penalties and costs totalling $210,000, and declared

that the conduct constituted undue harassment and coercion in breach of the Act.

Ladies and gentlemen.

Under s.50, the Commission considers applications for mergers.

In a modern economy, mergers play a crucial role. They allow firms to achieve

efficiencies such as economies of scale and scope; they created synergies and they act

to spread risk. Furthermore, mergers facilitate an active ‘market for corporate control’

whereby underperforming firms and incompetent managers are replaced. These are

positive developments that, indirectly, benefit consumers.

Most mergers do not raise any competition issues. However, in s.50, mergers or

acquisitions that would have the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening

competition are prohibited.

The experience of the Commission, however, is that most mergers do not raise any

competition issues. Around 1,200 mergers have been investigated over the last six

years by the Commission. Only 69 were opposed - just over five per cent.

In 2001-2, the Commission considered 237 mergers, asset sales and joint ventures.

The Commission objected to just nine.


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In recent times, the largest mergers by value in this country have been BHP with

Billiton; Optus and Singtel; Commonwealth Bank and Colonial; RioTinto and

North; TCNZ and AAPT; Smorgon and Email; Woolworths and elements of

Franklins; and the failed Woodside/Shell bid, which was approved by the

Commission, but rejected in another, separate process.

The fact is that the Commission opposes very few mergers - on average, between four

and five per cent.

In pointing to the benefits and protections that accrue to consumers from the existing

competition law, we need to acknowledge that the law can be improved still further.

4. Improving the law

The appropriate context for my remarks, of course, is the current review of the

competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

The Commission has the strong view that the law can, and should, be brought into line

with world’s best practice.

We believe that this would generate benefits for consumers and, more generally, for the


Criminal sanctions and pecuniary penalties

The first change being sought by the Commission is the introduction of the possibility

of there being criminal sanctions under the Trade Practices Act for hardcore collusion

by big business.

Hardcore collusion in the form of secret price-fixing agreements, bid rigging and

market sharing is extremely harmful both to business customers and consumers. The

gains can be large and it is difficult to detect. The incentives for collusion are high in

some areas of the modern economy.


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There has been a significant rise in international concern about collusion as reflected in

recent resolutions by the OECD Council of Ministries concerning hard core collusion

by big business, including apparent growing global collusion.

We believe that hardcore collusion is ethically objectionable, a form of theft and little

different from classes of corporate crime that already attract criminal sentences. The

possibility of criminal sentences is therefore appropriate for this kind of behaviour.

We should join the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, now Britain and some other

parts of the world in having criminal sanctions for collusion. In my view, it is only a

matter of time before we do this. I hope we do it as a result of this review.

The Commission believes that the present system is not properly based. The penalty

regime is based on imposition of pecuniary penalty and does not allow for criminal

sanctions. Pecuniary penalties - or ‘fines’ - are not a deterrent sufficient to prevent

‘hard-core’ collusion by big business.

Given the nature and effect of collusion, this is not appropriate.

The view of the Commission is that the possibility of gaol is a far more effective

deterrent for the wrongdoer who is considering wrongdoing - even more so, when

leniency practices are working well.

Prior to 1993 the pecuniary penalties applicable to breaches of the Act were low. The

maximum penalty per offence was $250,000 for a corporation and $50,000 for an

individual. Moreover, in no case until then had the total penalty exceeded $250,000.

In 1993, the penalty was increased to a maximum of $10 million for a corporation for

an offence and to $500,000 for an individual.


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Shortly afterwards in early 1995, penalties of around $15 million were imposed on

TNT, Ansett Freight Express and Mayne Nickless for conduct that occurred under

the previous penalty regime (of $250,000 maximum).

Individual penalties were also imposed. For example, the CEO of Mayne Nickless was

personally subjected to pecuniary penalties for behaviour prior to his becoming CEO.

$21 million fines were applied in 1995 under the new penalty regime to Boral CSR

and Pioneer for price fixing for ready mixed concrete in South Eastern Queensland.

It could be argued that since 1993 penalties have risen sufficiently to deter hard core


It is now clear that the new fines, although having had a significant effect, are still not

sufficient. There has been a considerable number of price-fixing cases since then:

• Australian executives were involved in the international vitamin price-fixing cartel

well after 1993. Fines of around $26 million were imposed by the Federal court on

the companies and executives

• There has been extensive price fixing in the power transformers industry. Fines of

$20 million have already been collected and the case has not concluded at this

point. The behaviour persisted until 1999. That is, the behaviour persisted even

after fines were increased.

In a recent judgment in the transformers matter7, Justice Finkelstein stated:

‘Generally the corporate agent is a top executive, who has an unblemished

reputation, and in all other respects is a pillar of the community. These people

often do not see antitrust violations as law breaking, and certainly not conduct

that involves turpitude…There are, however, important matters of which the

sentencing judge should not lose sight.

7 ACCC v ABB Transmission and Distribution Limited (No. 2) [2002] FCA 559, at para.28.


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‘The first is the gravity of an antitrust contravention. It is not unusual for anti-trust violations to involve far greater sums than those that may be taken by the

thieves and fraudsters, and the violations can have a far greater impact upon the

welfare of society…

‘Secondly, there is a great danger of allowing too great an emphasis to be placed

on the “respectability” of the offender and insufficient attention being given to

the character of the offence. It is easy to forget that these individuals have a clear

option whether or not to engage in unlawful activity, and have made the choice to

do so.’

Tax cheats who defraud the Commonwealth of revenue maybe subject to criminal

liability, depending upon the seriousness of their offence. Similarly, those who

manipulate Australian stock markets may, upon conviction, be imprisoned. Why

should executives who deliberately enter secretive arrangements to defraud their

customers be treated any differently?

Aside from important considerations of equity in the law, criminal liability, including

gaol, provides a deterrence not achievable under a civil regime. Work in the United

States indicates that the optimal corporate fine would need to be extremely high if fines

were to remove the prospect of profiting from participating in a cartel.

Because not all cartels are detected, to effectively deter a corporation from entering a

cartel, the maximum fine should be six or seven times the profit arising from the illegal


Studies have calculated that had the optimal been imposed on more than 400

corporations founded to have participated in cartels in the US, it would have

bankrupted more than 60 percent of the firms.

Let me give one example. It has been estimated that the total value worldwide of the

commerce affected by the international vitamin cartel was in the order of $20 billion.


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Conservative estimates would imply a total gain to the three participants in that cartel

of $1 billion - $2 billion.

Once the risks of detection is factored into the calculation, the optimal penalty is

between $6 billion and $14 billion. Taking into account record penalties imposed

worldwide and civil damages the participants have paid out in the order of $2 billion.

Executives have gone to gaol in the US for this cartel, but based on the penalties alone,

you would have to ask whether the companies involved (and others observing from the

sidelines) would think participation in the cartel was worth the risk.

Not only do large penalties jeopardise the continued existence of the majority of firms,

they penalise innocent people - employees, shareholders and creditors.

Some have argued there is no evidence that criminal sanctions and the possibility of

gaol will be more effective than pecuniary penalties. Of course there is no empirical

evidence, how do you show that conduct that did not occur would have done had

criminal sanctions not been in place.

Let me quote to you what James Griffin, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the

US Department of Justice Anti-trust Division said on a recent trip to Australia. When

discussing the deterrent effect of gaol sentences he said:

‘Of course, it is not possible to quantify the undetected. That is, cartel

behaviour that does not occur because it is deterred by the perceived risk of

incarceration. However, it seems clear that when the risk of gaol is introduced

into the equation, the conventional businessman’s risk/reward analysis breaks

down, and it is that breakdown which is critical to the effective deterrent of anti-trust crime.’

I do not believe that the possibility of criminal sanctions should be of concern to the

vast majority of businesses and business leaders in Australia.


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Secret, unlawful collusion of a major kind is not the practice of the vast majority of

Australian business.

When it occurs, however, it is very harmful, and business is most often the first victim.

This is because in most price-fixing cases, the customer is a business, not a household


Most businesses regard price fixing as abhorrent.

Some businesses will argue that they are not opposed in principle to such a law, but

they are concerned at the lack of safeguards.

This accurately describes my own view. I believe it essential that such provisions be

accompanied by safeguards.

First, the forms of behaviour to which it would apply would need to be defined. For

example, criminal sanctions would only apply to defined acts of collusion such as price

fixing, market sharing and bid rigging agreements between big businesses. They would

not apply to the rest of Part IV of the Act.

Secondly, proof beyond reasonable doubt would be required. At present the standard

for Part IV of the Act is balance of probability.

Thirdly, the Director of Public Prosecutions, rather than the Commission, would

conduct the case. Incidentally, New Zealand does not have a DPP system and instead

has Crown Prosecutors. These are directed by agencies and do not act in the same way

as a DPP. Of course, specific safeguards similar to those provided by the DPP could be

built into any system.

Fourthly, the matter would be dealt with by a judge and jury, as the Constitution

requires. For an indictable offence, that is an offence involving a gaol sentence of one

year or more, a jury of twelve is required and, according, to High Court decisions, its

verdict must be unanimous.


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Finally, in the case of a guilty decision, a judge would then decide at his or her

discretion whether or not someone should be fined or jailed.

Section 46

I now want to turn to how section 46 can be improved. Section 46 of the Trade

Practices Act prohibits corporations with a substantial degree of market power from

taking advantage of that power for the purpose of:

• eliminating or substantially damaging a competitor

• preventing the entry of a person into any market

• deterring or preventing a person from engaging in competitive conduct in any


The purpose of s.46 is to prevent firms with substantial market power from engaging in

illegitimate anti-competitive conduct. Situations in which it may arise include:

predatory behaviour; refusal to supply in an anti-competitive manner; the illegitimate

leveraging of market power in one market to damage competition in another market;

and some vertical practices.

This provision, which is similar to laws in New Zealand, in North America and in

Europe, is intended to steer a balance between preventing illegitimate anti-competitive

conduct and not deterring genuine pro-competitive conduct.

Effects test

The Commission also believes that the introduction of an effects test in s.46 would

improve the effectiveness of trade practices law.

Similar prohibitions against monopolisation or abuse of dominance in the United

States, Canada and the European Union all focus on effects as the ultimate issue. In

other countries effects is a normal test and is not the subject of controversy.


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The reason is that competition law is seen to be about protecting the process of

competition in the modern economy.

It is about economics, about the economic effects of certain behaviour, about the harm

to the economy from anticompetitive conduct.

The general approach to competition law around the world is that it is concerned with

outcomes rather than just the purposes of behaviour.

The Trade Practices Act is an economic statute expressed through the use of legal


The concern of economic policy is with the effects of behaviour.

If a firm with substantial market power goes too far in terms of illegitimate anti

competitive behaviour - takes advantage of that power and causes anti-competitive

effects - and causes damage to competition, then such behaviour should be prohibited.

To put this another way: if a dominant firm seriously damages the competitive process

with illegitimate behaviour of the kind proscribed in the Act, then, unless purpose can

be shown, such behaviour is not unlawful - no matter the harm to competition.

It is difficult to see why this section of the Act should be limited to conduct that has an

anti-competitive purpose - others sections are concerned with the purpose or effect of

behaviour. In addition, jurisdictions in Europe and in the United States are generally

concerned with effects.

Section 46 gives legitimate protection to new entrants to industries dominated by major

businesses. Moreover, in my view, such protection is legitimate and appropriate since

it is limited to anti competitive behaviour harmful to competition.

Would an effects test dull competition?


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This question is not a matter of argument in Europe or North America.

Section 46 is written with ample safeguards to protect legitimate competitive conduct.

Indeed, it has been designed and drafted so as to not compromise vigorous, legitimate

conduct. Cases, in practice, are hard to bring and are hard to win.

The High Court’s view on this matter is very clear. This section is about protecting

competition and interests of consumers. I believe that this would not alter with the

introduction of an effects test.

In fact, the competitive process would be helped by the addition of an effects test.

As a final point on s.46, the Commission’s view, as I have already mentioned, is that

Australian law would be improved by the introduction of cease and desist orders,

similar to the provisions enjoyed in New Zealand.

5. Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen. I want to conclude on this note.

In examining the way we govern ourselves, the Monash Governance Research Unit

makes a important and reasoned contribution to the life of this nation.

And in sometimes unreasonable times, this is, of itself, a positive development.

Closer to home, the Commission has negotiated a busy and important year. We are

subject to close scrutiny. We too have examined our own governance

Despite that, we have continued to pay attention to our normal and usual business,

which is the proper enforcement of Australia’s competition and consumer laws.


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And of us, I believe the Australian community could not demand more and could not

expect less.

Thank you for your time.