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Thursday, 7 October 1971
Page: 2018

Mr HUGHES (BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Has the Government been able to reach a decision as to the content of new legislation, other than the necessary stop-gap legislation, designed to control horizontal anti-competitive agreements and practices entered into by foreign corporations and trading and financial corporations? I also ask whether, in view of widespread public interest in this subject and the fact that legislation on such a complicated subject will inevitably take some time to prepare, he might consider when a decision is made, making a public announcement so that the public will be aware of what is afoot.

Mr McMAHON - The honourable gentleman obviously recognises the complex and difficult nature of the kind of legislation that we intend to introduce into the House in order to take action one way or another against horizontal anticompetitive practices. I can assure him that this is a matter that concerns me and my Cabinet deeply. We have asked the Attorney-General to proceed as rapidly as possible to try to prepare a Bill that we will be able to present to the House.

I am sure that the honourable gentleman would know that our first priority is to produce a viable Bill that relates to existing non-competitive restrictive practices. I will find out from the Attorney-General when it is likely to to be produced and will also ask him whether it is practicable to produce an outline of a Bill that can state the policies on which the Government will proceed in order that this could be submitted to the House and if necessary debated.

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