Wry & Dry

Other Business News

Treasurer Jim Morrison [2] wishes to take his place in history by getting rid of many of the archaic laws and regulations that stifle competition in Australia (e.g. on types of potatoes grown in WA).  And take his place alongside Keating and Costello as great reformers of the Australian economy.  

But in accepting much (but probably not enough) of Ian Harper's excellent review of the competition regime in Australia, he has taken on a much bigger challenge than that faced by either Keating (who just had to win over the Labor Caucus) or Costello (just the Australian electorate).  

Morrison has to take on two stubborn road-blocks to reform.  

Firstly, much of the archaic anti-competitive laws and regulations are the product of state-based legislation.  And so Morrison will have to fiscally coerce the states to change.  Which in itself presents two problems: political ideology (think of Andrews Labor government in Victoria) and/ or Luddite conservative thinking (WA government).  And the federal government doesn't have any cash to splash.

And secondly, big business has and will spend vaaaast amounts lobbying to ensure that their cosy anti-competitive and profitable arrangements are not upset.

W&D wishes Jim every success in becoming one of the great economic reformers.

W&D also sadly notes that the inspiration for the Harper Review, former Small Business Minister Bruce Billson is retiring from federal politics, after 20 years in the caper.  Billson was one of the rare politicians who was liked by all sides of politics, was enduringly optimistic and a thoroughly decent person.  His shoes as the member for Dunkley (Frankson, Mt Eliza, Mornington, etc) in Victoria will be hard to fill.