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Wednesday, 4 July 1906
Page: 1008

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - - Under all the circumstances, I shall, of course, be glad to see the amendment made. Owing to the very wide scope of the measure, the Attorney-General is apparently becoming afraid of the severity of the penal clauses. As I have pointed out, this provision might allow trusts whose operations are attended with very destructive consequences to escape by pleading that they knew nothing about the results that would follow from their actions.' Moreover. one man might be punished and the trust might still1 go on. Al] the modifications we are now making are the more necessary because the Bill applies to all the ordinary competitive enterprises of our industrial life. We should be very careful how we punish persons whose only crime is that they are successful in their enterprises. The AttorneyGeneral is creating a new set of offences, and it is no wonder that he should aim at making the penalties as light as possible, and also take upon himself the burden of proof of design. I should prefer to eliminate from the Bill all these references to ordinary competition. The term " restraint of trade to the detriment of the public " is wide enough to include all the trust operations' about which we need concern ourselves. The Bill has an unmistakable fiscal intent and purpose, and therefore we should tone down the penalties.

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