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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (AttorneyGeneral) . - I refer first to the point which the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) sought to make with relation to paragraph (c) of proposed new subclause (1.) of clause 37. He asks me to say whether or not I agree that this is a form of price control. The answer is that I do not agree. Obviously we cannot talk about monopolisation without talking about prices. It is impossible to think of monopolisation without thinking about prices. What we seek to do here is to make manifest by the agreement the difference between the words as they were originally in sub-clause (1.) and the words as proposed. We wish to make it clear that what is referred to is the imposition of a price.

If a person enjoys 100 per cent, of the market he will charge prices accordingly. He will charge prices which have some relationship to the way in which he manages his plant, the cost of production and so on. An honorable member mentions B.H.P. Of course, B.H.P. will fix the prices for its steel products. The question which is concerned here is whether or not the person who is in a dominant position imposes prices which he would not have been able to impose were it not for his dominant position. Prices must be relevant, but, because the word " prices " is used, that does not mean to say that a price control structure is erected. The thing we are talking about is the descriptive element of price. This is not capable of being used as a price control mechanism.

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