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Competition Policy Review (Harper Review)

For the latest news and information on the Harper Review visit my review page or the official Competition Policy Review website. The panel's final report was released on 31 March 2015.


Latest Competition Law News and Commentary

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17 April 2015 - Michael O'Bryan QC on the Harper Report

Harper Review panelist, Michael O'Bryan QC, discusses the Harper recommendations in today's Financial Review: see Katie Walsh, 'Courts, business up to the challenge: Harper panellist & silk' (AFR, 17 April 2015)

16 April 2015 - Harper Review video commentary from KWM

In a series of recent video's King & Wood Mallesons partners discuss some key Harper Review proposals:

16 April 2015 - The Role of the ACCC in Court Proceedings

In King&Wood Mallesons' latest In Competition blog post, partners Trish Henry and Stephen Ridgeway discuss the role of the ACCC in Court proceedings, noting increased litigation by the ACCC. See Tamara Hunter, 'Current Trends in Competition Law Litigation' (In Competition, 16 April 2015).

16 April 2015 - Sims on Google

On Wednesday, following a lengthy investigation, the European Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Google. The SO set out the EC's preliminary view that Google has abused its dominant position in breach of Article 102 TFEU by favouring its own comparison shopping product in its search results. Yesterday, in an interview on ABC's 'The World Today', ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, indicated that they are monitoring what the EC is doing but are not planning their own investigation at this stage. See Pat McGrath, 'ACCC lets EU do heavy lifting on Google competition investigation' (ABC, The World Today with Eleanor Hall, 16 April 2015). See also EC Google Case page. On the same day it issued the SO to Google in relation to it shopping search results, the EC also opened a separate competition investigation into Google's conduct with regard to the open-source Android operating system.

16 April 2015 - Harper speech to CEDA

The speech given to CEDA by Competition Policy Review Chair, Prof Ian Harper, on Tuesday is now available online. View speech. Video of Professor Harper's speech is also available from the CEDA website.

14 April 2015 - ACCC investigating allegations of misuse of market power in relation to Telstra's wholesale 4G services

The Australian reports that the ACCC is investigating claims Telstra is misusing its market power by 'refusing to wholesale its superfast 4G services to rival telcos': see Mitchell Bingemann, 'Watchdog probes Telstra's 4G delays' (The Australian, 13 April 2015, page 17. See also Rohan Pearce, 'ACCC mulls response to Telstra 4G wholesale complaint' (Computerworld, 13 April 2015)

14 April 2015 - No cross-subsidy of contestable services by Australia Post

The ACCC's tenth report assessing cross-subsidy between Australia Post services has concluded that Australia Post 'is not using profits from its monopoly reserved letter services to unfairly compete in other markets'. See Press Release.

13 April 2015 - ACCC's proposal to block Qantas/China Eastern coordination agreement criticised by Infrastructure Department

On 24 March the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to deny authorisation for Qantas and China Eastern to coordinate operations between Australia and China. One of the submissions to the ACCC in response to the draft decision came from the Aviation Industry Policy Branch of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, arguing that the proposed alliance would be 'positive for the Australian economy'. See Steve Creedy, 'ACCC slammed over decision to block Qantas-China Eastern link' (The Australian, 13 April 2015) and Dow Jones Newswires, 'Govt slams ACCC on airline tie-up' (Herald Sun, 13 April 2015).

13 April 2015- ACCC to conduct inquiry into competitiveness of wholesale gas prices

The Government has directed the ACCC to commence a '12 month public inquiry into the competitiveness of wholesale gas prices in Eastern and Southern Australia'. See press release. View my review page. See also Mark Ludlow, 'ACCC to probe wholesale gas prices on east coast and South Australia' (AFR, 14 April 2015)

10 April 2015 - Shadow treasurer rejects effects test for section 46

Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen MP, has an opinion piece in today's AFR in which he opposes the introduction of an effects test for section 46, claiming it represents 'dangerous economic policy': see Chris Bowen, 'Effects test will hamper competitors' (AFR, 10 April 2015). See other Harper Review media here.

10 April 2015 - ACCC will not oppose Dometic's aquisition of Aircommand

The ACCC has announced it will not oppose Dometic's acquisition of Atwood Investment 9inc Aircommand). See ACCC press release. See merger register.

7 April 2015 - Harper media and commentary

There continues to be plenty of media and commentary surrounding the Harper Review Final Report. I have linked to much of it here, including links to firm commentaries, academic and professional commentary, media commentary and industry responses.


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Hot topics

Competition Policy Review (Harper)

Harper Review

Read moreThe first major review of competition policy in Australia was conducted in 2014-2015 with the final report released on 31 March 2015.


Misuse of market power

Image of market power

Read moreAlways topical, the issue of misuse of market power featured prominently in the Harper Review, with the Panel recommending introduction of an effects test.

ACCC takes on Informed Sources

Image of petrol pump

Read moreThe ACCC has instituted proceedings against Informed Sources and several petrol retailers alleging contravention of s 45.


Cartels and agency arrangements

TPA cover

Read moreThe 2013 arguably inconsistent outcomes in the ANZ and Flight Centre cases in 2013 have led to some uncertainty about the circumstances in which agents may be considered in competition with their principals for purposes of the cartel laws. Both cases were appealed and judgment is pending.

Resale Price Maintenance

Merger authorisation

Read moreIn December 2014 the ACCC granted its first RPM authorisation. The Harper Review has recommended retaining the per se prohibition on RPM, but introducing a notification option.


ACCC to host ICN Annual Meeting

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Read moreIn April-May 2015 the ACCC will host the 14th ICN Annual Meeting in Sydney.


Images copyright: Images in the Hot Topic section (left column): male runner on starting blocks courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; gas pump filling nozzles courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net and price magnifier definition means promotions and savings courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.(right column): business man and stock graph report courtesy of watcharakun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; vacations computer key courtesy of Stuart Miles (Image ID: 10091676) at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; ICN conference logo from ICN Annual Meeting website.