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Tuesday, 23 May 1972
Page: 2866

Mr BUCHANAN (MCMILLAN, VICTORIA) - I address a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. I refer to recent legislation dealing with resale price maintenance. Is the Minister aware that the section dealing with so-called 'loss leadering' is capable of being interpreted loosely, since there is no precise definition of the term 'cost'? Is the Minister aware that certain discount retail stores interpret the term 'cost' as the figure at which they purchase the goods from the manufacturer plus a nominal amount which can under no circumstances be regarded as a fair and reasonable apportionment of selling costs and overheads thus, in effect, loss leadering' the manufacturer's product without his concurrence? Does the Government propose to counter the situation by amending the appropriate section of the legislation to clarify the situation and thus avert expensive impending litigation, the cost of which eventually must be borne by the consumer?

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Before the Parliament rises my colleague, the AttorneyGeneral, will present a statement in another place on the strengthening of the Trade Practices Act. It is true that this will deal with matters other than resale price maintenance - the part which was inserted a short time ago. This statement, as I understand it, will be open for consideration by members of the public and members of the House during the recess. When resale price maintenance was being considered by the House the question of loss leadering was given very careful attention. As I no longer hold the portfolio of Attorney. General I have not received or seen any complaints about the operation of tha law regarding resale price maintenance, but I have no doubt that this matter can be looked at at the same time as other amendments to the Act. I will certainly refer the matter to my colleague.

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