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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 897

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - We appreciate what the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Murphy) has said- that it gives to the Opposition what it was originally seeking, but it also goes further. I heard the Attorney-General state that in addition it covers price fixing arrangements. The Opposition's original proposal was that the provision which meant that the clause relating to exclusive dealing would not come into operation until 4 months after the date of proclamation was to be the only area in which there would be delayed operation of the legislation. The Opposition felt that as well as the provision relating to the delayed commencement of the exclusive dealing provisions there should also be a similar provision relating to price discrimination. Therefore, the Opposition's amendment was simply to add to clause 2 the expression '47 (1)', which deals with exclusive dealing, and the expression 49(1)', which deals with price discrimination. That would mean that in both those areas there would be a delay in the operation of the legislation.

The case we put in support of that, and I imagine that the Attorney-General has become aware of it, is that so many of the arrangements under which business and commerce are carried on in this country are arrangements which will have to be adjusted in the areas of exclusive dealing and price discrimination and in areas where existing distributorships and networks and connections between companies will have to be looked at arid changed. Obviously the point is accepted with regard to exclusive dealing and 4 months is an appropriate time in the view of the Government. We do not challenge 4 months although I have heard argument addressed to us that it ought to be a longer time. I accept, as the Attorney-General says, that the clause proposed by the Government preserves that position. But I notice that it deals with a number of other matters as well. I would be grateful if he would explain how the provisions will operate. For example, he not only incorporates clauses 47 ( 1 ) and 49 ( 1 ) as provisions which shall not come into operation until the expiration of 4 months after the date fixed by proclamation but also the provisions of sub-clauses (1) and (2) of clause 45 which I assume deal with price fixing arrangements, and then indicates that clause 88 (2) is in some way to apply. I would be grateful if he would explain in what way that provision applies.

He would appreciate that at a later stage we will be moving an amendment to clause 45 which, if it were acceptable to the Committee, may require us to come back to clause 2. 1 notice also that there is a provision in proposed subclause (6), contained in the Government's list of amendments, which seems to have the sensible purpose behind it of enabling the GovernorGeneral to make appointments of members of the Commission after the Act receives the royal assent notwithstanding that the proclamation has not been made under which particular clauses will come into operation. I cannot see that there would be any real objection to that but I would be grateful if the Attorney-General will explain those particular areas upon which I have invited comment.

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