Thursday, 1 November 2018

Australian Politics 2018: This Federal Government Can’t Do Anything Right

Reared with a sense of righteous self-importance, fed on a diet of IPA ideology with a side dish of entitlement, brought to Canberra by the Old Boy’s Network, then fattened into self-complacency by the political perks of office, this particular Coalition Government (which took the reins of government in 2013 and kept them in 2016) was always a puny failure.

Faced on a daily basis with its own failings this clueless federal government scrabbled about for years before turning bitter, vindictive and intent on destruction.

Here is yet another example of the Morrison Government’s inability to do more than spin its wheels…..

Financial Review, 26 October 2018:

Federal energy minister Angus Taylor's roundtable aimed at forcing big energy companies to lower their standing offers for retail power by January 1 is under a cloud because of real fears this could amount to an illegal cartel.

Energy industry sources say the legal risks of breaching cartel laws - jail terms and massive fines for individual executives - are too great for them to risk at a roundtable at which issues of pricing will be hanging in the air even if not explicitly discussed.

Mr Taylor dismissed suggestions that the round table could breach competition laws.

"Of course we're not going to breach the Australian laws; we don't do that," he told reporters after the COAG Energy Council meeting in Sydney.

But he signalled that all the invited retailers may not attend the round table, at which the government would outline its policies and expectations that the sector will deliver price cuts for consumers.

"We're looking forward to as many electricity providers coming to the round table as want to come along," Mr Taylor said.

The energy companies' fears of breaching the cartel laws are heightened because they have been under permanent surveillance on pricing by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the last 18 months and the government recently extended that monitoring until 2025.

As well, cartel laws have been widened to include so called "signalling" and other forms of tacit agreement falling short of explicit price fixing agreements during the last decade because offences were too difficult to prove in court under the previous, much stricter definition.

Mr Taylor wrote to energy companies on Tuesday inviting them to a "roundtable" to discuss the reductions in their standing offers they will be required to make for January 1, 2019 - before the July 1 scrapping of standing offers which are to be replaced by the "default" tariff to be set by the Australian Energy Regulator by April 30.

 Read the full article here.

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