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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 draft report was released on 22 September 2014.


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19 December 2014 - More Harper submissions available

The fourth batch of Harper Review submissions on the draft report have been published on the Competition Policy Review website.

17 December 2014 - ACCC appeals Air Cargo decision

The ACCC has announced it will appeal the Air Cargo cartel decision; the case failed at first instance because the Court found there was no relevant 'markt in Australia'. See press release. For the judgment see: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Air New Zealand Limited [2014] FCA 1157. See also 'ACCC appeals court’s dismissal of cartel case against Air NZ, Garuda; (Business Spectator, 17 December 2014) and my note on this case.

15 December 2014 - ACCC and Coles seek consent orders

The ACCC and Coles have made joint submissions to the Federal Court seeking consent orders from the Court. See ACCC press release. See also Sue Mitchell and Madeleine Heffernan, 'Coles to refund suppliers as it settles cases with ACCC ' (The Age, 15 December 2014)

5 December 2014 - More Harper Submissions published

The third batch of submissions on the Harper Competition Review Draft Report have now been published on the Review website.

5 December 2014 - ACCC authorises RP

The ACCC has granted conditional authorisation for Tooltechnic Systems (Aust) Pty Ltd to set minimum retail prices on Festool power tools until 31 December 2018. View press release. View authorisation register.

4 December 2014 - New cartel action

The ACCC has instituted proceedings against electrical cable suppliers alleging cartel and exclusionary conduct in the supply and acquisition of electrical cable. See ACCC press release.

28 November 2014 - More Harper media

Some more items of interest in the last couple of days: John Durie, 'Brickbats for Brickworks' (The Australian, 27 November 2014) (scroll down to 'Harper’s way' section), 'Farmers Back Government Draft Report' (The Cattle Site, 24 November 2014), Julie Edwards, 'Harper Review's new world of public service for profit' (Eureka Street, 27 November 2014)

26 November 2014 - ACCC proposes to allow WATAB collective bargaining authorisation

The ACCC proposes to grant a ten year authorisation for the WATAB Agents' Association Incorporated to collectively negotiate terms and conditions of service behalf of members with Racing and Wagering Western Australia and to participate in dispute resolution processes between RWWA and agents. See ACCC proposes to authorise W.A.T.A.B Agents’ to engage in collective bargaining & dispute resolution (ACCC Update, 29 November 2014) . See authorisation register.

26 November 2014 - Media on Harper submissions

There has been a bit of media on some of the Harper Review submissions recently. See, for example, Andrew White, 'Industry super slaps big bank bundling ' (The Australian, 25 November 2014) and , 'ADF calls for mandatory code' (The Australian Dairy Farmer, 26 November 2014), 'Minter Ellison announces general support of Harper Review draft report' (The Lawyer, 21 November 2014)

26 November 2014 - ACCC submission to Harper

The ACCC's submission on the draft report is now available here (it is not yet available on the Review website). See also the accompanying press release. For commentary see, for example, Michael Roddan, 'Harper review would weaken cartel laws: ACCC' (Business Spectator, 26 November 2014) and Georgia Wilkins, 'ACCC warns on cartel law changes' (The Age, 27 November 2014) '

25 November 2014 - Subsidies to microbreweries challenged

Australian craft brewers have asked the WTO to take action against countries that subsidise microbreweries. The ACCC is also said to be investigating is investigating tying practices which lock craft beers out of Australian hotels.See Steve Cannane and Sashka Koloff, 'Craft beer brewers take on domestic heavyweights in ACCC and WTO fair trade investigation' (ABC, 25 November 2014)

24 November 2014 - More Harper submission released

The next batch of Harper Review submissions have been released and can be viewed here.

21 November 2014 - Harper submissions

No new submissions to the Harper Review have been published since the deadline for submissions passed on Monday - a few have trickled out online though. See, for example, ANRA submission, ACCI submission, Australian Copyright Council, CHOICE, Pharmacy Guild of Australia submission (a mere 123 pages) and Victorian Local Governance Association.

20 November 2014 - Federal Court upholds validity of Obeid notices

The Full Federal Court has upheld the validity of examination notices issued to Paul and Moses Obeid. See ACCC press release. See also Kat McClymont, 'Eddie Obeid's sons set to be grilled by ACCC' (SMH, 20 November 2014)

20 November 2014 - More effects test commentary

Woolworths chief executive Grant O'Brien has again warned against introducing an effects test for the misuse of market power prohibition, claiming it would create uncertainty which would chill investment. See Sue Mitchell, 'Woolworths boss Grant O'Brien warns effects test will prove negative for economy' (The Age, 19 November 2014). See also Katie Walsh, 'Big retailers warn of chill to competition' (Farm Weekly, 20 November 2014). See also ANRA submission to Harper Review (not yet published on the Harper Review website)

20 November 2014 - Pharmacy Guild considers Harper deregulation proposal 'deeply flawed'

It comes as no surprise that the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has criticised the Harper Panel's proposal to remove restrictive pharmacy location and ownership rule. Draft recommendation 52 states, in part, 'that the Panel 'considers that the pharmacy ownership and location rules should be removed in the long term interests of consumers.' See Christie Moffatt, 'Guild analysis finds deregulation call ‘deeply flawed’' (Pharmacy News, 19 November 2014)

20 November 2014 - ACCC will not oppose Wesfarmers' acquisition of The Workwear Group

The ACCC will not oppose Wesfarmers’ proposed acquisition of Pacific Brands’ The Workwear Group. See ACCC press release. See merger register.

20 November 2014 - ACCC launches secondary boycott action against CFMEU

The ACCC has instituted proceedings against the CFMEU alleging 'it engaged, or attempted to engage, in secondary boycott conduct directed at Boral Resources (Vic) Pty Ltd and Alsafe Premix Concrete Pty Ltd; contrary to the CCA.. See ACCC Media Release, 'ACCC takes court action against the CFMEU alleging secondary boycott and undue harassment or coercion' (20 November 2014) See also Michael Janda, 'ACCC launches court action against CFMEU for Boral secondary boycott' (ABC News, 20 November 2014)


4 November 2014 - Commentary on draft RPM authorisation

Several law firms have released commentary on the ACCC's draft RPM authorisation:

Submissions on the draft determination are due by 7 November.

31 October 2014 - ACCC loses air cargo case against Air NZ and Garuda

In a 350+ page judgment, the Federal Court has dismissed proceedings against Air New Zealand and Garuda concerning alleged price fixing in relation to air cargo services; Justice Perram concluded that the conduct alleged did not take place in a 'market in Australia'. See, for example, ACCC, 'Court dismisses air cargo cartel proceedings against Air New Zealand and Garuda Indonesia' (Press Release, 31 October 2014), Steve Creedy, 'Air New Zealand, Garuda beat ACCC cargo collusion case' (The Australian, 31 October 2014) and Michael Roddan, 'Court throws out ACCC's Air NZ case' (Business Spectator, 31 October 2014). For the judgment see: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Air New Zealand Limited [2014] FCA 1157


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