Welcome to Australian Competition Law
Latest Australian Competition Law News and Commentary
16 September 2016 - ACCC will not oppose Seven West Media's proposed acquisitions of The Sunday Times and perthnow.com.au
The ACCC has announced it will not oppose proposed acquisition. See media release. See public register. See also 'Sunday Times sale to The West Australian owner Seven West Media receives ACCC approval' (ABC News, 15 September 2016), Lucy Battersby, 'ACCC lets Seven West buy News Corp's Perth paper as readers, advertisers go online' (SMH, 15 September 2016), John Durie and Daniel Palmer, 'ACCC clears Seven West’s acquisition of West Australian media outlets' (The Australian, 15 September 2016), Jake Mitchell, 'Seven West ‘worthy custodians’ of Perth’s The Sunday Times' (The Australian, 16 September 2016).
8 September 2016 - ACCC updates guidance on use of mandatory information gathering powers
The ACCC has released updated Guidelines on the Use of section 155 powers, 'with particular focus on the use of s 155 powers in the ACCC's enforcement and merger activities'. Given proposed changes to s 155 powers in the Exposure Draft legislation - including in the form of a proposed reasonable search defence - the ACCC has indicated it will update the Guidance again to take account of those changes if and when passed. See media release.
7 September 2016 - Exposure Draft Legislation - markup version of CCA
I have prepared a mark-up version of the current Act incorporating the amendments proposed by the Exposure Draft legislation.
- CCA 2010 amended in accordance with Exposure Draft Bill (mark-up showing) (PDF)
- CCA 2010 amended in accordance with Exposure Draft Bill (clean) (PDF)
See also Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2016 (Exposure Draft) (report page).
5 September 2016 - Exposure Draft Legislation
The exposure draft legislation implementing the bulk of the Harper competition law reform recommendations was released today. I've provided an overview on my blog - Harper Exposure Draft Legislation Released - and the following pages will progressively add detail:
- Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2016 (Exposure Draft) (report page)
- ACCC consultation on ACCC Draft Framework for misuse of market power guidelines
- ACCC consultation on ACCC Draft Framework for concerted practices guidelines
5 September 2016 - Government releases exposure draft of Harper competition reform bill
The Government released an exposure draft of the Harper reform bill today. See Treasury page. Submissions are due by 30 September. See further my review page on the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2016 (Exposure Draft). More details to follow.
5 September 2016 - ACCC seeks feedback on framework for guidance on competition law reforms
The Government released an exposure draft of the Harper reform bill today and the ACCC has released a framework for guidance on how it proposes to approach the proposed change to s 46 and the proposed creation of a prohibition against anti-competitive concerted practices. See media release.
Competition Policy Review (Harper)
The first major review of competition policy in Australia was conducted in 2014-2015 with the final report released on 31 March 2015. The Government has accepted many of the recommendations and exposure draft legislation was released on 5 September 2016.
Misuse of market power
Always topical, the issue of misuse of market power featured prominently in the Harper Review, with the Panel recommending introduction of an effects test. In March 2016 the Government announced that it would introduce an effects test consistent with the Harper Panel's recommendation.
First criminal cartel case
On 14 July 2016 the Commonwealth Director of public prosecutions filed an indictment against Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha in the Federal Court of Australia. This represents the first case alleging a contravention of the criminal cartel laws introduced in Australia in 2009. NYK pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct on 18 July 2016.
Cartels and agency arrangements
The 2013 arguably inconsistent outcomes in the ANZ and Flight Centre cases in 2013 led to some uncertainty about the circumstances in which agents may be considered in competition with their principals for purposes of the cartel laws. The appeal decisions in both cases were handed down on 31 July 2015. The ACCC has been granted special leave to appeal the Flight Centre decision to the High Court.
Resale Price Maintenance
The decision in CFMEU cast doubt on the ability of the ACCC to negotiate 'agreed penalties' with respondents to proceedings under the CCA; on 9 December 2015 the High Court overturned this decision with the result that parties may continue to negotiate and submit agreed penalties to the Court.
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