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Tuesday, 28 August 1906

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) . - I am sorry to deprive Senator McGregor of the pleasure he seemed to anticipate a little while ago, when he evidently thought that there was some prospect of myself being proceeded against under this clause.

Senator McGregor - I should regret the circumstances very much.

Senator PULSFORD - I ought to have explained before that the agreement to which I referred lapsed about a year ago, and that at the present moment I am interested in no agreement of the description, and, therefore, shall be under no liability under the measure before us. But my knowledge of many similar agreements enables me to afford some information which, if the Committee were inclined to deliberate and judge the question, as it should, from the right standard, might be accepted. Senator Dobson, like one or two other honorable senators, assumes that nearly all trusts are great and evil trusts.

Senator Dobson - What is the reason for the Bill if most of them are not?

Senator PULSFORD - The honorable senator overlooks the sweeping interpretation of "commercial trust" in clause 3. That definition is not taken from any other Act in operation elsewhere, but has been manufactured here, and is drawn in such a way as to include every possible form of what are merely commercial agreements. Any agreement of the kind, however innocent, will at once constitute a " commercial trust." For every trust of a great and iniquitous character, there are, I suppose, 100 or 200 trusts which are entirely innocent and beneficent in their operations.

Senator Dobson - If those trusts do not destroy or injure industries they will not come under the Bill.

Senator PULSFORD - Why should hundreds, or even scores, of people be deemed guilty of unfair practices when, admittedly, they are not guilty of anything of the sort? That is the point which supporters of the clause are carefully and . persistently ignoring. There is no doubt that the clause would be equally as strong without these words, and that innocent and necessary agreements amongst traders would be excluded.

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