Free competition and monopoly
The federal and state governments make various types of programs available to companies and investors. A comprehensive aid search engine is available to companies at www.business.gov.au. It should also be noted that for companies planning to establish an innovative business or make an investment in a state or territory in Australia in excess of AUD 5 million, the Australian government makes the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) available to the investor. This visa has a processing fee of AUD 5,375.
As a general rule, foreigners wishing to acquire residential real estate in Australia may do so as an investment and must apply to the FIRB for prior approval. Foreigners wishing to acquire second-hand real estate may do so under very strict conditions. The regulation of the sector establishes that in the case of purchasing real estate for temporary housing, the property must be sold when leaving the country (except in the case of acquiring Australian residency). Foreign investment regulations apply to non-residential assets (approvals required above a threshold). https://firb.gov.au/real-estate/.
Fair Trade Australia
Australia’s state and territory governments’ anti-discrimination laws and policies work together to fulfill Australia’s commitment to upholding women’s equal rights and respecting its obligations under the Convention. The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 is the principal federal legislation that criminalizes discrimination against women and gives effect to many of Australia’s obligations under the Convention. Protective measures under the Act are applied in conjunction with those under existing state and territory anti-discrimination laws, except to the extent that discrepancies arise, in which case the federal law prevails. This model complements the wide range of protections enacted by the states and territories with those established at the federal level.
The Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill 2010 (see paragraph 20 of CEDAW/C/AUL/CO/7) was not passed in the Australian Parliament. However, since 2010 there have been a number of legislative amendments to strengthen anti-discrimination protections. Examples include the Sex and Age Discrimination Amendment Act 2011 and the Sex Discrimination (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Amendment Act 2013. The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 amended the Marriage Act 1961 to remove restrictions limiting marriage in Australia to the union of a man and a woman, with the result that two people are now free to marry in Australia regardless of their sex or gender and same-sex marriages are recognized under Australian law.
Examples of free competition
The ACL also prohibits “unconscionable conduct” in relation to the supply of goods or services. In considering whether conduct can be classified as unconscionable, factors such as the relative bargaining power of the company and the customer, and whether the company used undue influence, pressure or unfair tactics are taken into account.
The ACL also contains provisions prohibiting unfair contract terms contained in standard “standard contracts” between a business and an individual consumer. Unfair contract terms are terms that would cause a material imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract, are not reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the party obtaining the advantage, and would cause prejudice (financial or otherwise) if relied upon. A term that is considered an unfair contract term is void.
The ACL also prohibits certain types of misrepresentation, referral selling, undue harassment at a place of residence or business, the supply of unsecured products, the sending of unsolicited credit cards and payment for the supply of unsolicited products.
Importance of free competition
The ACCC enforces the Australian Competition and Consumer Act, and has standing to act in the Federal Court of Australia to enforce its provisions. The Competition and Consumer Act is a broad range of provisions, including those relating to anti-competitive conduct, the Australian Consumer Law and the regulation of the telecommunications and energy industries. The ACCC, under the Act, also regulates certain industries, providing access to national infrastructure. The ACCC also has an educational role and seeks to educate consumers and businesses as to their rights and responsibilities under the Act.
The Australian Energy Regulator is a constituent if not separate part of the ACCC and is responsible for the regulation of economic energy. It shares staff and premises with the ACCC, but has a separate board, although at least one board member must also be a Commissioner in the ACCC.