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AustraliaHawker Report 2001

  • Competing Interests: is there balance?
    Review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Annual Report 1999-2000
    House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economic Finance and Public Administration, 2001


Terms of reference

Under House of Representatives Standing Order 324 (b), the Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration is empowered to inquire into and report on any matter referred to it by either the House or a Minister, including any pre-legislation proposal, bill, motion, petition, vote on expenditure, other financial matter, report or paper.

Annual reports of government departments and authorities tabled in the House stand referred to the relevant committee for any inquiry the committee may wish to make. Reports stand referred to committees in accordance with a schedule tabled by the Speaker to record the areas of responsibility of each committee.

The annual report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for 1999-2000 was tabled in the House of Representatives on 31 October 2000. On 1 March 2001, the committee agreed to carry out a review of that annual report.


Press releases

ACCC Under the Microscope
Press Release 24 September 2001

Has Fels gone too far?
Press Release 22 June 2001

House Economics Committee to quiz ACCC
27 March 2001


Report chapters

Chapter 1 - Introduction


Ongoing concerns with the ACCC's role

Continuing the watch on the watchdog: The review

Structure of the report

Chapter 2 - ACCC’s role in preventing anti-competitive behaviour



ACCC approach to mergers

Criticism of ACCC approach

Case studies



Case studies

Assistance to rural medical services

Protection of small business

Case studies

Legislative changes

Chapter 3 - Prices oversight


Current prices oversight powers of the ACCC

Prices Surveillance Act 1983

  • Declarations and the price notification process
  • Inquiries into pricing
  • Price monitoring

Trade Practices Act 1974

  • Part IIIA - The access regime
  • Part VB - Price exploitation in relation to NTS

Informal price monitoring

  • Petroleum products
  • Bank fees and charges

Proposed changes to PS Act

Chapter 4 - Enforcement issues

Allegations of ‘arm twisting’ by the ACCC


Price exploitation

  • Did the ACCC overstate its powers?
  • The 10 per cent rule

ACCC’s arguments for stronger trade practices laws

The effects test

Cease and desist power


Splitting the ACCC

ACCC’s performance overall


Appendix A - List of submissions

Appendix B - List of exhibits

Appendix C - List of hearings and witnesses



Mr David PM Hawker MP (Chair)

Ms A E Burke MP

Mr A N Albanese MP
Ms T Gambaro MP
Mrs KE Hull MP
Mr MW Latham MP
Ms T Plibersek MP
Mc CM Pyne MP
Hon AM Somlyay MP
Dr AJ Southcott MP


Submissions and witneses to public hearings


Australian Dairy Farmers' Federation Limited

Australian Automobile Association

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Professor Warren Pengilley

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (supplementary submission)

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (supplementary submission)

Professor Warren Pengilley (supplementary submission)

Public hearings