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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 942

Senator MISSEN (Victoria) - I suggest that it will not be as simple as the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Murphy) said for someone to make use of the words in the amendment to escape the provisions in this clause. Sub-section (3) states:

In any proceeding for a contravention or sub-section ( I ), the onus of establishing that that sub-section does not apply in relation to a discrimination by reason of sub-section (2) is on the party asserting that sub-section ( 1 ) does not so apply.

So the onus will be on the corporation to bring itself within the provisions of (2) (b) and to prove, if the words in the amendment are added, that it reasonably believed there was a price or benefit to be offered by a competitor. It will not be sufficient merely to say that it believed that some competitor was offering something. There would have to be a reasonable belief. There would have to be some evidence of it. I suggest that the amendment is no Pandora's box. It is reasonable that this way out should be left to a person. He may not know that a competitor has offered it, but he may have very good reason to believe that. If he has that proof, if he has some satisfactory reason and if he can discharge the onus, the words which Senator Greenwood suggests should be added to the clause are desirable and fair, bearing in mind particularly the high penalty which people will pay if convicted of price discrimination. Therefore, I suggest that it is not a simple matter. The amendment is a fair and reasonable one.

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