The 2008 Federal budget allocated $1.5m over three years to the establishment of resale royalties in Australia, a result greeted with relief and joy by the field, after 20 years of lobbying. Before the ABC television program Four Corners in late July that publicly exposed blatant price ramping practices within the Menzies Brand auction house there was a sense that the art auction houses, flush with their recent astonishing sales figures, would be pressing their advantage and banding together to try to prevent a resale royalties scheme moving towards legislation. After all, if you are putting up at your own auction house a painting which you already own and buying it back again yourself, not once but several times, and if the price goes up each time by a hefty percentage, the last thing you want is to pay a royalty to the original artist every time around. But now that the other auction houses, in a flurry of righteousness, are demanding the head of Rod Menzies on a plate engraved with the words Trade Practices Act, it seems that their new-found unity of purpose may be history. In the meantime we await the findings of the ACCC.

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