Government Should Look Again at Divestiture Powers in Light of Coles Allegations

The ACCC’s claims of unconscionable conduct by Coles paints a picture of a contemptible culture that raises issues about the efficacy of existing regulations and penalties, Senator Matt Canavan said today.

“The ACCC has effectively accused Coles of intimidation, threats and what amounts to a corporate version of blackmail,” he said. “It reads more like a Mario Puzo novel than a Rod Sims dissertation.
 
“There are emails and records of meetings to back up the ACCC’s claims.
 
“If Coles can’t defend these allegations, then our current laws are not working.
 
“There should be no place in our competitive economy for big firms to stand over small firms.
 
“In light of these allegations, the Government should look again at the merits of a mandatory code of conduct (rather than the currently proposed voluntary code) and whether we need stronger penalties, like divestiture powers that exist in other countries (such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada).
 
“If Coles really have acted in the way that is claimed, being just split up is almost a fate too good.
 
“The claims also strengthen the need for an ‘effects test’ as proposed by the recent Harper review.”

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