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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Senator BEST (Victoria) .- The amendment, although, apparently, innocent in itself, is certainly calculated to impair the effectiveness of this provision. Accord ing to all American cases, an attempt to unduly raise the price of commodities would be a restraint of trade. The amendment would cut down paragraph a because the latter might be taken to have a meaning different from " restraint of trade." It would shake the very full meaning which, by the American cases, is attached to restraint of trade. According to the Sherman Act, a mere agreement for the purpose of fixing prices at all, whether reasonable or unreasonable, is regarded as being in restraint of trade, and consequently illegal. Senator Drake wishes to pick out a proceeding which is manifestly included in that phrase. I hardly think he will deny that his proposal is most distinctly covered by paragraph a.

Senator Drake - I do not admit that at all.

Senator BEST - I have quoted a number of American cases which clearly show that the mere fixing of prices whether reasonable or unreasonable, is in restraint of trade.

Senator Gray - Does this provision carry out the American construction?

Senator BEST - No; it is lighter than the American law. The Sherman Act of the United States declares to be illegal any restraint of trade, reasonable or unreasonable. According to English law, it is only an unreasonable restraint of trade that is illegal.

Senator Gray - If the banks combined to fix a rate of exchange, would that be illegal ?

Senator BEST - The mere fixing of a rate of discount or interest would not be an act in therestraint of trade. My contention is that, first of all, this amendment is covered by paragraph a, and, secondly, that to insert it here would be calculated to aggravate the wide effect of paragraph a.

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