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Wednesday, 4 July 1906
Page: 1011

Mr ROBINSON (Wannon) .- I am very glad that the Attorney-General has moved this amendment. I do not consider for one moment that this legislation is a farce. I believe there is a possibility that the clause under discussion will effect a very remarkable amount ofgood. Any one who has read the story of the operations of trusts in the United' States, and compares some of the provisions in Part

II.   of this Bill with the provisions of the American law, must admit that clauses 4 and 5, which are the main operative clauses, are an improvement upon the American provisions, and do not offer those opportunities of oppression which some American legislation does offer. I consider that the words "to the detriment of the public," in paragraph a, will have a very beneficial effect from the public point of view, as well as from the point of view of a man who might enter into a trade combination which was not meant to be of a destructive or hurtful character, as I believe the majority of trade combinations are. But the necessity of proving intent must be insisted upon, otherwise we shall make men criminals for entering into an innocent combination, whether their intent was improper or not. If we did not insert the words " with intent," the most innocent man in the world would be held to come within the purview of the clause, and to be liable to a heavy fine, or one year's imprisonment, or to both. In seeking to insert the words, the Attorney-General is acting only in accordance with the great bulk of criminal legislation, not only in Victoria, but in every other State of the Commonwealth, and every part of the British Empire. I think that the criticism to which the AttorneyGeneral and the Bill have been subjected on account of the proposed insertion of these words is not quite fair or quite relevant. I have a great many objections to other portions of the Bill, and I also have certain objections to this clause, but with the insertion of these word's, paragraph a will be a provision of great value to the public, and also a safeguard to innocent combinations, and these, I understand, are what the Government wish to protect. With this object, I am in most, hearty sympathy.

Amendment agreed to.

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