The Australian Competition and Consumer's proposed industry codes of conduct - a compliance solution?

Len Gainsford

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Abstract

Recently the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has promoted the endorsement of voluntary industry codes of conduct. The ACCC's 14 October 2003 draft guidelines suggest the endorsement of 'industry best practice' codes separately, but related to, individual trade practices compliance programs. In public submissions, industry groups have identified problems with the ACCC's proposals. In this article, it is argued that endorsement of voluntary industry codes should not be separated from a commitment to individual trade practices compliance. Codes in themselves are not a compliance solution. In 1994, the Australian Law Reform Commission found that codes of conduct are a form of co-regulation. It also found that there needs to be a level of mutual commitment to a code from the regulator and its regulated entities. That commitment may be lacking if businesses find that the ACCC's code endorsement process is less rewarding than their own compliance processes. Recent research data suggests that Australian businesses prefer trade practices compliance programs derived from their own compliance culture. Simple obedience by a business to an ACCC endorsed industry code is not consistent with this trend.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of law and financial management
Volume3
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the publisher Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This archived copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to use this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.

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