Wry & Dry

Competition reform back on the agenda

Industry lobbyists for oligopolies and restrictive practices group (pharmacists, taxis, many large companies) breathed a sigh of relief when ex-PM Abbott shelved the Harper Competition Review.  And hence, the pre-Christmas scramble to secure frequent flyer seats for up-the-front travelling to foreign climes began and the Trip Advisor app was updated.  

But then along came Napoleon Turnbull.  And took the Review off the shelf.   W&D has already written on the wide-ranging benefits of that review.  And shares the delight with readers that Napoleon Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison have now undertaken to give the government's response before Christmas.

So the lobbyists have had to unscramble their travel plans.  And, as W&D writes, are wearing out the shoe leather in the lobbies of parliament house, crying the end-of-the-world if the Harper Review recommendations are accepted by the government.

Of course, it remains to be seen how the government will respond.  W&D's prediction?  As the new government needs to be seen to be active (as well as for the right reasons), most of the 56 recommendations will be accepted.  But the controversial Section 46 recommendation about harmful competition (the so-called 'effects test') will be referred to a committee of some sort.