In the media

Sims stresses IR focus
Rod Sims used his address to the annual Law Council conference to stress his industrial relations credentials while warning he can only administer the law he has, which centres on substantially lessening competition. The ACCC has an action ongoing against the CFMEU over ­allegations of price-fixing in the Canberra concrete market, and has two further secondary boycott cases under investigation (16 August 2015).  More...

NBN partner Visionstream ‘sabotaged rival’
Managing director of OPENet­works, Michael Sparksman, said NBN Co is deliberately targeting us by overbuilding and using predatory pricing on buildings and developments that are already adequately, if not, very well serviced (15 August 2015).  More...

BP to appeal US ruling on gas price fixing
Energy giant BP is set to appeal against a decision by a US judge that it had manipulated gas market prices in 2008, the company says. The ruling came from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday and London-based BP says it "strongly" disagreed with the decision (14 August 2015).  More...

Bunnings ‘is like a vulture’: Small business backs former Woolies chief on how hardware giant screws competitors
Small business advocates have backed a call by a former chairman of Woolworths for stronger competition laws because companies like Bunnings are destroying their competitors (13 August 2015).  More...

Labor MPs and business divided on effects test
The proposed effects test recommended by the Harper review into competition laws has split the business community. The Business Council of Australia is bitterly opposed to it while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry backs the change, saying it would help small businesses fight off predatory behaviour by bigger rivals (11August 2015).  More...

Billson on misuse of market power
The Small Business minister has issued a media release focussing on misuse of market power laws, outlining his view that the current law on misuse of market power has failed and requires re-framing in accordance with the Harper recommendations (05 August 2015).  More...

Competition is not a plaything for big business and unions
COSBOA is concerned by the recent statements from the Business Council of Australia and its supporters that an Effects Test would be detrimental to Australia and to small business; an Effects Test is actually essential for a fair and competitive marketplace (06 August 2015).  More...

Ausbil to repay nearly $20m to customers for excess fees
Funds manager Ausbil is to pay out nearly $20 million to refund customers it overcharged over a decade, but will not be fined by regulators for the huge financial oversight. Clients were overcharged because of an inconsistency between the fees outlined in Ausbil's product disclosure statement and those permitted under its constitution (05 August 2015).  More...

Libor rigging: Ex-UBS, Citigroup trader Tom Hayes jailed for conspiring to rig interbank interest rates
A former currency trader has been sentenced to 14 years in jail by a London court for conspiring to rig interbank interest rates, becoming the first person convicted in the Libor scandal (04 August 2015).  More...

ACCC loss in Flight Centre, ANZ case clarifies price-fixing rules
The loss by the ACCC of separate price-fixing cases against Flight Centre Travel Group and ANZ Banking Group on Friday has helped clarify important legal points for companies that offer services both directly and through agents (03 August 2015).  More...  More...


Case Note - Williams v Pisano - (2015) 12(7) CL 122
Louise Mallon and Luke Salem. Consumer protection - Misrepresentation - Misleading or deceptive conduct - Real estate agent. In Williams v Pisano, the New South Wales Court of Appeal considered a claim that misleading representations made by homeowners and their estate agent whilst marketing a residential property for sale was conduct 'in trade or commerce', thereby attracting liability under section 18 or section 30 of the Australian Consumer Law. The Court of Appeal rejected that claim.

Addenbrooke Pty Limited v Duncan (No 6) [2015] FCA 793
TRADE AND COMMERCE – whether a potential investor in a placement of shares made by a private company was misled as to the true purpose of the capital raising – whether material facts were concealed from the potential investor – whether the investor relied upon the positive statements made to it and whether it relied upon those with whom it dealt to disclose certain facts – whether those facts were material to the investor. Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth), ss 12DA, 12GF, 12GB and 12GM. Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), s 1041E.  More...

Flight Centre Limited v Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [2015] FCAFC 104
COMPETITION – appeal – whether appellant travel agent attempted to induce specific airlines to make a contract, arrangement or arrive at an understanding which had the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition in a market – consideration of relevant market – characterisation of relevant services supplied by airlines and travel agents – whether airlines and travel agents competed in a market for booking and distribution services, or whether the only relevant market was the market for international passenger air travel services – whether travel agents competed with airlines in that market given they were the agent of the airlines when supplying such services – application of ss 45 and 45A of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth).  More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited[2015] FCAFC 103
COMPETITION – appeal – whether conduct of respondent bank entering into an agreement had the purpose, effect or likely effect of fixing, controlling or maintaining a discount, allowance, rebate or credit pursuant to s 45A of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) – where mortgage broker, Mortgage Refunds Pty Ltd, offered refunds to borrowers if borrower successful in applying for loan – where respondent bank wrote to finance aggregator to limit amount of refund offered by Mortgage Refunds Pty Ltd in relation to respondent bank’s loan products – whether respondent bank’s conduct had the effect of lessening competition between respondent bank and mortgage brokers pursuant to s 45(2)(a)(ii) and s45(2)(b)(ii) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) – where market pleaded by ACCC was for the provision of “loan arrangement services” – characterisation of services provided by the banks and mortgage brokers – whether respondent bank and mortgage brokers both provided loan arrangement services and accordingly competed in a market for the supply of loan arrangement services – consideration of features of mortgage broking business model. COMPETITION – cross-appeal – whether refund offered by Mortgage Refunds Pty Ltd could be properly characterised as a rebate in relation to loan arrangement services – construction of s 45A of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). More...



Howard Rapke, Managing Partner, Melbourne
T: +61 3 9321 9752


Ian Robertson, National Managing Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0401

Paul Venus, Managing Partner, Brisbane
T: +71 7 3135 0613


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