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Tuesday, 17 May 1960

Mr Ward d asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a statement by Dr. Coombs, Governor of the. Reserve Bank, in which notice was directed to the growth of a large degree of monopoly control in Australia which has resulted in unjustifiable higher prices?

2.   Does information available to him support the view expressed by Dr. Coombs?

3.   If so, when did he first become aware of the development of this situation, and is any action proposed to deal with it?

4.   If action is to be taken, what are the details?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   I assume that the statement referred to was Dr. Coombs' presidential address to the A.N.Z.A.A.S. Congress in Perth last August, of which I am aware. 2, 3 and 4. As indicated in the GovernorGeneral's Speech at the opening of this session of Parliament, the development of tendencies to monopoly and restrictive practices in commerce and industry has engaged the attention of the Government. An examination of this matter has been commenced and when completed the Government will consider introducing legislation to protect and strengthen free enterprise against such a development.

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