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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - We have already provided, in the earlier part of the clause, that, continuance in any combination, which, of.' course, would be the result of a contract, shall be an offence. That being so, we provide also that a contract, although it is not avoided until the Bill conies into force, shall then be avoided. We do not interfere in any way with any acts or transactions anterior to the Bill coming into operation, but the moment it does come into operation, it renders the making of such a contract illegal, and all contracts already in existence become illegal and void from that moment. We do not in any way act retrospectively or attribute to any action or transaction arising out of a previous contract, any particular force or effect under the Bill ; but the moment the Bill comes into operation contracts for the establishment and maintenance of combinations become illegal and void.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia.) [6.28]. - Senator Keating has either not read sub-clause 2 or misapprehends it. The amendment I have proposed does not deal with the continuance of combinations, but with contracts. Neither the draftsman nor any one else ever pretended that sub-clause 2 of the clause was intended to deal with combinations, which become illegal and void at once; it was intended to relate to contracts only.

Senator Keating - A contract now in existence is not illegal, but it will become illegal on the passing of the Bill.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The Minister entirely, I think, misapprehends the s'.ib-clause we are discussing. The sub-clause deals with persons who make or enter into contracts from the date of the passing of the Bill ; past contracts, are not affected. A man is not penalized who enters into a contract to do something before the Bill is passed; the man who is liable is he who enters into a contract after the Bill is passed.

Senator Keating - And who remains in a combination which is the result of a contract.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Not a word is said about that in sub-clause 2. We are not dealing with combinations but with contracts into which men enter after the passing of the Bill.

Progress reported.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 -b.m.

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