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Wednesday, 4 July 1906
Page: 1029

Mr JOHNSON (Lang) . - I move -

That after the word " intent " the following words be inserted : - " To prevent the producers or vendors of goods from freely offering their wares for sale ; or

(c)   To prevent the consumer or purchaser from obtaining his goods upon the most favorable terms afforded by free competition in the open market."

As I pointed out earlier in the day, the first part of the clause aims at the repression of monopolies, and so justifies the title of Part II. of the Bill; but the effect of the second part, if not amended, will be to promote monopolies, and belie the object of this part of the measure. I take it that we wish to prevent anything in the nature of monopolies which may hamper, discourage, or destroy trade. I hold that any combination whose object is to interfere with the right ofprimary producers, manufacturers, carriers, or sellers of goods, to carry on their operations freely, in accordance with the law as it stands, should be suppressed, and that, in like manner, any combination intended to prevent consumers or producers from having the utmost freedom of choice in the selection of their markets, and from buying or selling on the most favorable terms they can get, should be discouraged. We should not encourage the cornering of markets, or the preventing of makers or sellers of goods from placing their wares on the market to the best advantage, and at whatever prices they choose to ask. Neither should we interfere with the right of the public to purchase upon the best and most favorable terms that it can get. I wish to allow people of small means to obtain' their goods as cheaply as possible, and to permit producers to supply their wants at prices which suit both parties. If a man invests money in the purchase of bankrupt stock, and buys it below its ordinary market value, he can, without selling at a loss, sell it again at prices below those ordinarily charged by retailers, and, in doing so, will, of course, compete with the retailers who have not bought under such favorable conditions. Similarly, at the end of a season, reductions upon the ordinary selling prices are the custom in trade. The public, however, is a gainer by such reductions, and we have no right to deprive persons of small means of these opportunities to supply their requirements at exceptionally favorable prices. Everything that operates to interfere with the freedom of makers, sellers, or buyers of goods to transact business for their mutual benefit is, I hold, an undue and unnecessary restraint of trade, and an arbitrary usurpation of the powers of legislation.

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