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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) .- In order that there may be no misapprehension, I point out that we are now dealing with the proof required - for the whole of the purposes of this part of the Bill - that competition is unfair. It is not only for the Comptroller-General, but for a Judge as well, to decide whether competition is unfair. It has been pointed out again and again, that the gist of the offence is unfair competition, and if competition is held to be unfair, the intent will be assumed. In the sub-clause, in which Senator Pulsford has moved his amendment, it is provided that, on certain things being proved, the competition shall be deemed to be unfair, and no opportunity will be given to the defendant to disprove it.

Senator Playford - Yes, there will.

Senator DRAKE - No; that is what the Minister of Defence evidently does not understand.

Senator Pearce - The matter will not at that point have reached the stage of proof, but merely of inquiry.

Senator DRAKE - The first sub-clause covers the whole of this part of the Bill, and it provides that, " for the purposes of this part of the Act, competition shall be deemed to be unfair," &c, which relates to everything that may come before the Court for determination. The competition is to be deemed to be unfair when certain things are proved, and, as I have said, no opportunity is to be afforded to the defendant at that stage to disprove the allegation. In the second sub-clause, competition is to be deemed to be unfair unless the contrary is proved.

Senator Pearce - The opinion of the Justice will be formed on the evidence before him.

Senator DRAKE - On this evidence. For instance, according to the sub-clause with which we are now dealing, if the Judge is satisfied that, under the ordinary circumstances of trade, the competition will probably lead-

Senator Playford - The Judge will hear the evidence of both sides.

Senator DRAKE - That is not so. The difference between the two sub-clauses is that, according to one, the competition is to be deemed to be unfair, while, according to the other, the competition is to be deemed to be unfair unless the contrary is proved. The things referred to in paragraphs a and b of sub-clause1 have to be proved to the satisfaction of the Court ; and, when that has been done, the Judge has to find that the competition is unfair, even though any amount of evidence could be given by the defendant to prove that it is not unfair. It is clear that the Minister was not aware of the effect of this provision, but now that he does know, he ought to raise no objection to the amendment.

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