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Tuesday, 29 May 1973
Page: 2819

Mr BENNETT (Swan) - I rise to protest against what I believe to be a grave injustice, that is being perpetrated against a small business and to protest against what may well be a widespread restrictive trade practice. The matter I wish to raise concerns the supply of television sets to a small outofPerth retailer who is involved in the sale, rental and servicing of television sets and other electronic equipment supplied by Thorn Electrical Industries, an eastern States distributor. Thorn suddenly refused to supply the business last week, after a meeting in the eastern States of a large buying group which has a store in the same area and which has been suffering from the increasing sales figures of this business - sales, I must add, based on personal service, a proper assessment of the value of trade-ins and the granting of a proper discount on articles purchased as well as the giving to customers of the benefit of technical advice.

It is completely unethical and completely restrictive for a Retravision group, with its group buying pressure, to intimidate Thorn Electrical Industries to cease supplying Howard's Electronic Service Co. What is more important is that the local community, which has been receiving service at a reasonable figure, is being denied the continuation of the service provided. How many other people have been placed in this position by this type of action by these companies? These practices reflect upon the whole industry and must cease. I draw the matter to the attention of the Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory (Mr Enderby), who represents in this chamber the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy), and to other honourable members, who may be able further to expose this type of activity.

On putting pressure on the Western Australian representatives of the group for an explanation as to the sudden curtailment of his supply of sets, Mr Howard was told that the decision was not a local one and had been made in the eastern States because of pressure by a large buying group which had one of its discount group stores in the district which had been at a disadvantage in its sale of new television sets due to his sales activities. If that decision was made in the east regarding the Western Australian firm, it is more than possible that this restrictive practice applies in other States as well. It is far past time that action was taken against these people to ensure not only that the small business is protected but also that the public is able to receive the benefits of true competition.

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