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wa this week – 10 years ago

TPC approves bank merger. THE Trade Practices Commission granted approval for Westpac’s $690 million takeover of Challenge Bank to go ahead, defining for the first time what type of bank merger activity would breach competition protection laws, this week 10 years ago. In his Westpac-Challenge decision, TPC chairman Allan Fels said the TPC would would scrutinise any major trading bank acquisitions of regional banks very carefully but would be especially concerned at acquisitions in any state with only one major regional bank. For the purposes of its analysis of the Westpac bid for Challenge, the TPC rejected a submission from the banks that it should be viewed in context of the degree of concentration in the whole Australian industry, instead ruling that competition in the WA market was more relevant. Lawrence turns tables THEN Federal Health Minister Carmen Lawrence sought to deflect attention from her failure to recollect events in the Easton affair by accusing then WA Premier Richard Court of dithering when giving evidence before the Marks Royal Commission. Mr Court reportedly avoided using the word "recollection", instead relying on terms such as "I don’t believe so" or "I couldn’t say". Dr Lawrence, who had come under intense scrutiny for her forgetfulness in the affair, accused Mr Court of giving three different versions of events as to when he received information that he had been cleared of allegations contained in the Easton petition. Union anger flares. Protests against a new set of punitive industrial reforms by the WA government gathered strength when the Transport Workers’ Union voted to join a 24-hour union blockade of the state. The TWU’s federal committee of management voted to join 12 other unions in the blockade, which coincided with the introduction of reform legislation into the state’s Parliament a month later. The TWU’s assistant national secretary, John Allan, said the proposed legislation was an attack on his members and he endorsed a "day of black-out" in WA. The mood of unions in WA was exacerbated by the Court Government’s announcement that week that it intended to deregister the state’s teachers’ union. The State School Teachers’ Union then voted to hold a state-wide strike on Thursday in protest at the deregistration. First LNG to Turkey The first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia to Turkey arrived at an LNG terminal near Istanbul. The purchase of 125 million cubic metres of LNG was part of an agreement for a total of three cargoes to be delivered from WA’s North West Shelf joint venture.

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