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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr BUCHANAN (McMillan) .- We are now getting on to Part IV of the Bill which deals with examinable agreements and practices. I refer to paragraph (a) of sub-clause (1.). One of the features of this measure that is unnecessarily causing a lot of doubt, confusion and misunderstanding in industry is that industry will not know what is really required of it. A few times we have heard it said: "What has industry to fear? If it does the right thing it will have nothing to worry about." The trouble is that industry does not know whether it will be doing the right thing. What the right thing is has not been made clear. At the second reading stage I said that I considered that it was necessary for industry to have some assurance of what the provisions of this Bill meant so that there would be some certainty about what was required of industry.

From here on as we get into definitions of various kinds there will be many inferences to be drawn about what ought to be done to comply with the requirements of the Bill. We appear to be using vague, dragnet expressions based on supposition. I propose as we go along to bring these to the attention of the Committee in the hope that some of them will be clarified. The Minister stated in his reply at the end of the second reading debate that he too believes that there should be certainty in this. If industry is to understand what it is supposed to comply with it is essential, I submit that the Bill should state what is expected of it. Industry wants to know what agreements it will have to ferret out and decide as being necessary to notify to the Registrar of the Trade Practices Tribunal for inclusion in his list so that they become registered agreements.

I can understand the words " the terms or conditions, whether as to prices " in paragraph (a) of sub-clause (1.). Naturally, one of the first matters that will be looked into is prices. This paragraph concludes with the words - or as to any other matter, upon or subject to which dealings may be engaged in;

These are so vague as to be impossible for anybody to understand. I suggest that the words " affecting prices " are required after the word "matter". The paragraph would then read - the terms or conditions, whether as to prices or as to any other matter affecting prices, upon or subject to which dealings may be engaged in;

Industry would then understand that this provision will require it to gather together and register price agreements. Accordingly, Sir, I move -

In sub-clause (1.), paragraph (a), after " matter " insert " affecting prices ".

Sitting suspended from 5.52 to 8 p.m.

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