The Marker - 5 minute news release - transcript

Published: 29 August 2012

Summary: Featuring ACCC Chairman Rod Sims and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, this video news release includes interview footage as well as the trailer for use by media outlets.


ACCC CHAIRMAN ROD SIMS: It’s come to our attention that the level of awareness about cartels amongst Australian businesses is not as it should be. Indeed there was one survey that found that while a number of people were aware of cartel activity and that it was illegal 1 in 10 of those people felt that they might still participate in a cartel.

Cartels occur when businesses make agreements with their competitors to fix prices, rig bids, share markets or limit supply in order to maintain or increase profits.  Businesses and individuals who enter into cartel arrangements with competitors are breaking the law and can face up to 10 years in jail. Now, there is no excuse for this deceptive and dishonest conduct including in hard economic times when some businesses may be struggling to survive.

Anyone currently or recently involved in cartel activity should be the first to apply for immunity. As long as you are not the clear cartel leader and have not coerced others into a cartel any business or person can apply to the ACCC for immunity from prosecution in exchange for helping us with our investigations. I would say to any business or individual involved in cartel activity that they should get in contact with the ACCC to get an immunity marker in place. While ever they don’t they’re running a risk that someone else involved in the cartel will do that and if someone gets in before them then they face serious prosecution and frankly not only a jail term but a potential destruction of their life.

QANTAS CEO ALAN JOYCE: With Qantas and some of its executives having been through the rigours of an investigation and prosecution there’s no question that participating in cartel activities is a very bad personal and business decision.

Qantas freight division participated in a global price fixing cartel in the early 2000’s which once investigated and prosecuted by global anti-trust regulators cost Qantas more than 200 million in fines and settlements. One Qantas freight executive in the United States was convicted and spent 6 months in prison.

It is critical that all companies set up a thorough training and compliance program to avoid breaking cartel laws and that this compliance program is supported at the highest levels in the company. It is also critical that you establish and support a whistle blower program so that employees concerned about conduct in your company can raise their concerns for investigation at the appropriate level.

Well, I urge all CEOs and their executives to show this film to everyone at every level of your business who could be involved with competitors. As we see through the experience of the characters of this film, being involved in a cartel is a serious issue that can cost you your business, your reputation, enormous financial losses, your family and friends and ultimately your freedom.


MARTIN: It’s been going on so long now that it’s just the way things are done.

GORDON: Oh, Neil’s replacement?


MARTIN: Give me a couple of weeks to get up to speed.

FIONA: No time for that I’m afraid.

MARTIN: Ah, I’m shattered.

GORDON: You can take the money and go run a company or stay here and help run an industry.

MARTIN: I just have to rock up, polish it and take the cash.

JEFF: Sounds perfect.

MARTIN: The tenders get rotated around.

FIONA: Congratulations, we got the tender.

MARTIN: Someone new starts up that doesn’t want to play ball then we just...

GORDON /MARTIN: Price them out.

JEFF: Don’t feel guilty. They have to catch you first.

GORDON: Everybody needs to understand that this is how things operate.

MARTIN: Is anything wrong?

JEFF: You’ve got a bit of price fixing, some government tender rigging and dividing up of territories.

GORDON: No mate, nothing’s wrong.

JEFF: It sounds like you’re running a cartel.


FIONA: We need you to do your job.

LUCY: Who are you calling?

MARTIN: What’s it to you?


FIONA: What’s gotten into you Martin?

News report on Radio: The competition watch dog has new teeth to crack down on price fixing.

JEFF: You need help. You need to talk to someone, someone who knows about this stuff.

MARTIN: Yeah...who?