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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 920

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - From the point of view of the Opposition, I certainly would agree that it be put that way. The Opposition does not oppose clause 45 because we have by our assent to the second reading of this Bill, agreement in principle to the measure. We recognise that probably the kernel of the measure is contained in clause 45 but certainly share much of the apprehension expressed by Senator Wright, as I believe do most Opposition senators. I use this opportunity to repeat that this clause will require an immense number of ad hoc judgments to be made by courts inexperienced in this sort of concept when matters are brought before the courts for interpretation. I believe that this clause will not aid the cause of effective trade practices legislation designed to promote a competitive climate in the community. I believe it will have a restraining effect because the language which it uses is vague and uncertain. The concepts to which it gives expression are concepts which are completely novel to those who are engaged, in the broad, in business and commerce in this country. It will be a long time before there can be any benefit to consumers or those who derive benefit from competition from the adoption of this approach.

The attitude of the Opposition- it is an attitude which we make abundantly clear- is that we regret that the Government has forgone the type of approach which has developed in this country over the last 8 or 9 years in favour of a completely new approach. Whilst it is of no comfort to prophesy, I certainly feel that this legislation will cause more damage and problems than would a sensible, pragmatic approach on the other legislation to which everyone in the community was becoming accustomed. That legislation was biting harder with each successive year. I think this is a retrograde step. However, I mentioned those matters because, whilst we do not like it, we hold these views. We recognise that we have to take a step forward from our existing legislation. The Opposition would have preferred to have gone in the direction along which we were indicating we were proceeding. But we were not given the mandate to do so. We recognise that the Government does have an obligation to take its trade practices legislation further, and it is doing so in this way. We will not oppose the amendment.

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