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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 992


The CHAIRMAN - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


Senator GREENWOOD - I move:

1.   After sub-clause (5), insert the following new subclause: (5a) Subject to this Pan, the Commission may, upon application by a corporation, grant an authorisation to the corporation to engage in conduct that would be or might be of a kind referred to in sub-section 46 ( 1 ) and, while such authorisation remains in force, section 46 does not prevent the corporation from engaging in that conduct in accordance with the authorisation.'.

2.   After sub-clause (6), insert the following new subclause: (6a) Subject to this Part, the Commission may, upon application by a corporation, grant an authorisation to the corporation to engage in conduct that would be or might be of a kind referred to in sub-section 49 (1) and, while such an authorisation remains in force, section 49 does not prevent the corporation from engaging in that conduct in accordance with the authorisation.'.

3.   At the end of the clause, add the following new subclause:

(8)   Subject to sub-section (5), an authorisation may be sought and granted at any time after the date fixed under sub-section 2(3).'.

This clause deals with authorisations. 'Authorisations' is the name which is given to the granting of applications made by a company to continue with its particular activity where, without the authorisation which is granted to that company by the Commission, the conduct would be prohibited. There is scope for authorisations to be granted with regard to certain of the types of conduct which are prohibited by clauses 45 to 50. Certainly the provisions apply to agreements in restraint of trade. But we believe that authorisations should be able to be obtained in respect of monopolisation and price discrimination. If a company can apply to the Commission for an authorisation to engage in conduct which would otherwise be prohibited by clause 45 as being in restraint of trade, or if a company can apply to the Commission for an authorisation to engage in conduct which would otherwise be regarded as exclusive dealing, it seems that there is no proper case for price discrimination and monopolisation not to be able to be excluded. lt is not as if one is automatically excluding from the operation of these provisions companies which are engaging in conduct which would otherwise be proscribed. What one is doing is simply giving to a company the right to apply to the Commission, and the Commission will consider whether or not the company should be exonerated. I suggest for consideration by the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) that the very width of what is described as monopolisation and price discrimination and the element of uncertainty which must attach to words which are coming into application for the first time in this country warrant the opportunity being given for authorisation. I invite the Attorney-General to consider the amendments.







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