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Orders made to prevent enforcement of foreign antitrust judgments



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102

"I hope that those who are interested in the

subject will study the report and its recommendations. I

shall welcome views and comments on the Report. These views

and comments will, help the Government when it comes to

consider the Report and what action, whould be taken to

implement it", Senator Durack said.

Canberra

7 June 1979

34/79

ORDERS MADE TO PREVENT ENFORCEMENT OF

FOREIGN ANTITRUST JUDGMENTS

The Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack, Q.C.

said today he had made an order preventing the enforcement

of two antitrust judgments made against Australian companies

by a United States court. .

: Senator Durack said the proceedings in which the

judgments were entered were brought by the Westinghouse

Electric Corporation against 29 uranium producers including

the following Australian Companies

. Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia Ltd.

. Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd.

. Queensland Mines Ltd.

Two judgments for Westinghouse have been entered

by the United States District Court for the Northern

District of Illinois, Eatern Division. One was entered on 3

January 1979; the other was entered on 24 January 1979.

- 103

The Attorney-General said the. proceedings in which

the judgments were, entered related to arrangements for the

of uranium * alleged to have been made in 1972 in violation of

the antitrust laws of the United States. The claim in the

proceedings was . for treble damages approximating U.S. $7

billion.

! The judgment of 3 January 1979- was ,a% final

judgment on issues of liability. It was entered against nine

non-United States defendants, including the Australian

companies, which have declined to enter appearances. The

companies declined because they considered there were

jurisdictional objections to the proceedings against them

and that they might be taken to have waived those objections

if they were' to enter appearances. In its judgment, the

Court ordered the nine defendants to be liable to

Westinghouse for an amount of damages yet to be determined

by the Court.

Senator Durack said the judgment of 24 January

1979 was an interim injunction restraining - the nine

defendants until further order of the Court from dealing

with their assets in the United States except as provided in

the injunction. The purpose of the injunction is to have

those assets kept available to satisfy the judgment of 3

January 1979 when the amount of that judgment has been

determined.

- The Attorney-General said he had made the order in

respect of both judgments under section 3 of the' Foreign

Antitrust Judgments (Restriction of Enforcement) Act 1979.

The Act. required that before making an order, the

Attorney-General needed to be satisfied of the existence of

one or more prescribed grounds. ' ·

104

Senator Durack said he had made the order because

he was satisfied that it was desirable in the national

interest that the judgments should not be recognised or

enforceable in Australia. .

He said if the judgments were permitted to be

enforced, in Australia against the companies, a consequence

could be that those corporations might be unable to maintain

their «Australian operations. In view of the position which

the companies occupy in Australian economy, particularly in

relation, to the marketing of Australian resources, it is in

the national interest that they should be able to continue

those operations.

Senator Durack said there was a special need to

protect the national interest from foreign antitrust laws in

cases such as the present ones where the conduct in question

had taken place outside the foreign State and where the

foreign laws were being applied contrary to the expressed

views of the Australian Government as to what it considered

to be appropriate.

Canberra

8 June 1979

35/79

* * ■ * # *

T E X T OF L E T T E R TO P RESS C O U N C I L

The A t t o r n e y - G e n e r a l , S e n a t o r P e t e r D u r a c k , Q.C.,

s a i d t o d a y that d u r i n g the w e e k the A u s t r a l i a n P r e s s Council

r e l e a s e d a s t a t e m e n t to the m e d i a d e a l i n g w i t h the

A u s t r a l i a n S e c u r i t y I n t e l l i g e n c e O r g a n i s a t i o n Bill.