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Tuesday, 21 August 1906

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) . - I desire to draw attention to the expression " Repression of Monopolies." In the Bill, I understand, it is not proposed to abolish monopolies. The Minister has told us that some monopolies are of a beneficent character; therefore, I suppose he does not wish us to abolish that which is beneficent.

Senator Playford - "Repression of Monopolies," would only refer to the repression of injurious monopolies. It would not interfere with beneficient monopolies.

Senator PULSFORD - The clause does not say that. I move -

That the word " Repression " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " Regulation."

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [9.54]. - I have no objection to the omission of the words " Repression of." I do not see why Part II. of the Bill should not be called " Monopolies." I do not think that the word "Regulation" should be inserted, because it is not a Bill for the regulation of monopolies. The only monopoly which ought to be recognised is one which raises prices ; but still, if the Government wish to retain the word " Monopolies," I have no objection. I see no necessity, however, to insert " Regulation " in place of " Repression."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment (by Senator Pulsford) negatived -

That the words " Repression of " be" left out.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 3 -

In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears- " Commercial Trust " includes a combination, whether wholly or partly within or beyond Australia, of separate and independent persons (corporate or unincorporate) whose voting power or determinations are controlled or controllable by -

(a)   the creation of a trust as understood in equity, or of a corporation, wherein the trustees or corporation hold the interests, shares, or stock of the constituent persons ; or

(i)   an agreement; or

(c)   the creation of a board of management or its equivalent ; or

(d)   some similar means ; and includes any division, part, constituent, per son, or agent of a Commercial Trust. . . .

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [9.55]. - I desire the Minister to explain the definition of " Commercial

Trust." What, for instance, is the meaning of the expression " the creation ofa trust as understood in equity "?

Senator Playford - That is a legal question, which my Honorable and learned friend ought to be able to answer. " It is really too bad to ask me what it means.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I quite expected to receive that answer, because I have never heard of such trusts " in equity "as are sought to be dealt with by the clause.

Senator Keating - " As understood in equity."

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Certainly not. The, trusts which are supposed to be dealt with by the Bill are trusts as understood in commerce, I should think. ,

Senator Keating - The word "trust' in paragraph a is used to express the legal relation that would arise betweenthe persons.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - But it does not express it.

Senator Keating - I think so.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Does the Minister know of any Act on which this Bill is supposed to be founded, and in which that expression is used? I can find none. Neither the Sherman Act nor the Wilson Act contains the phrase. But in each Act the word "trust" is used. I do not propose to move the omission of thewords "as understood in equity." The Bill is beset with enough difficulties already, and I invite the Minister to consider if it is not encumbering the expression "trust," which is well understood in connexion with these things in commerce, by surrounding it with something which is supposed to give it a legal interpretation, but which would only confuse it. If he will look at the beginning of the interpretation he will seethat - "Commercial Trust" includes a combination, whether wholly or partly' within or beyond Australia, of separate and independent persons.

What does that mean? Why not say simply "a combination of persons"? Persons are all, I suppose, separate and independent. Why put in the words separateand independent, then? If there is any particular signification in using the words, I think that the Committee ought to be informed of what it is. Then the definition also contains the words "corporate or unincorporate." I do not know what that means. Really, it is the funniest' Bill I have ever seen. Some person with a copious command of terms has simply put in as many as he could. If my honorable friend will look at the definition of "person," he will find that it includes a corporation. Why, then, in the definition of " commercial trust," say persons corporate or unincorporate ? Surely, it is sufficient to say " a combination of persons " unless there is some signification sought to be attached to the words to which I have referred.

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