Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has welcomed an agreement between the Liberal and National party leaders to push ahead with reforms to competition laws that will protect small business.
“Big businesses should not be able to act in ways that damage competition and get away with it. That’s exactly what has been happening at the moment because our competition laws have been mired in a morass of legal dispute,” Senator Canavan said.
Support for changes to introduce a so-called “effects test” were included in a side letter to a new Coalition agreement concluded between Warren Truss, Leader of the Nationals, and Malcolm Turnbull, the new Liberal leader and Prime Minister.
“The effects test has been a controversial proposal but it’s clear something needs to be done to the current law, which is simply not working. Without strong competition laws, big business will be protected from being threatened by new competitors and savvy consumers.
“Big business should not be a protected species but they are at the moment because our current competition laws are not working.
“The Nationals party is proud to stand up for small business and this change would likely not have happened without the support and advocacy of the Nationals party.”
Three Nationals Senators supported the introduction of an “effects test” in a vote in the Senate yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, despite government Senators voting against the motion.
The win for small business also comes after the Nationals passed a motion at its Federal Conference on the weekend in support of introduction of an effects test. The full text of the motion was: “That this Federal Conference calls for section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act to be amended to include an ‘effects test’ as recommended by the Harper Review to stop large corporations with substantial market power from engaging in conduct that damages competition.”