Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
As part of its investigation into allegations of resale price maintenance in the petroleum market, the Trade Practices Commission (TPC) conducted compulsory examinations of three service station operators pursuant to s 155 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). A copy of the transcript of each examination was given to the service station operators. The TPC subsequently commended proceedings against the respondents. The respondents issued subpoenas to the service station operators seeking production of the transcripts of examination. The TPC opposed the respondents being granted access to the transcripts.
After considering Johns v ASC  HCA 56; (1993) 178 CLR 408 (see 1 PLPR 10), the court held that 'the obligations of the TPC and of the examinees PLPR 10), the court held that 'the obligations of the TPC and of the examinees as to confidentiality, if any, arise by virtue of the statutory provision ... In the circumstances of the present case,
no duty was imposed upon the examinees, either by the Act, expressly or impliedly, or by the content or circumstances of the communications between the TPC and the examinees to keep the transcripts of the examination confidential. No duty of confidence precluded the dissemination by the examinees of the content of the examination and the transcripts.' Accordingly, access to the transcripts was granted to the respondents.