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Labor has put scammers on notice. The Liberals? *sad trombone*



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THE HON DR ANDREW LEIGH MP SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION MEMBER FOR FRASER

CANDIDATE FOR FENNER

LABOR HAS PUT SCAMMERS ON NOTICE. THE LIBERALS? *SAD TROMBONE*

A recent wave of allegations of misleading and often unconscionable conduct by pharmaceutical, food, a recently-privatised health insurance company, and private colleges that targeted vulnerable people, has left many Australians hoping the consumer watchdog will be given the powers it needs to have their back.

Only Labor has put scammers and dodgy operators on notice.

A Shorten Labor Government will introduce a comprehensive suite of competition reforms that deter and punish anti-competitive and anti-consumer conduct.

To date, the Liberals have been deafeningly silent on consumer protection.

Below is a helpful checklist of positive competition and consumer policies and actions.

LABOR LIBERAL

Increase civil penalties under the Australian Consumer Law from $1.1 million to $10 million, bringing penalties in line with the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act

2010.

Nada.

Adopt the EU’s penalty system for anti-competitive conduct, which is based on 30 per cent of the annual sales of the relevant product or service, multiplied by the number of years the

infringement took place, limited to the greater of 10 per cent of annual turnover, or $10 million.

Zilch.

Increase the ACCC’s litigation budget from its current level of $24.5 million to a maximum of twice that level ($49 million).

The ACCC lost 10 per cent of its staff in the three years of the Abbott-Turnbull Government.

Amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to give a market studies function to the ACCC so that it can explore public interest issues such as pricing discrepancies and increased market

concentration.

Scott Morrison told The Australian that the ACCC already has a market power.

Yet again, he's wrong.

The Harper Review specifically said the lack of an independent market studies function put Australia out of line with

comparable nations.

Amend Section 76 of the Competition and Consumer Act to allow the Courts to apply higher penalties for conduct that targets or disproportionately impacts disadvantaged

Australians, or apply lower penalties when firms have provided adequate compensation to those affected.

The Liberal Party Federal Policy Platform does not mention inequality once.

Include a requirement in the Competition and Consumer Act that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission prioritise investigations of conduct that targets or disproportionately impacts

disadvantaged Australians.

The Liberal Party has proposed a $50 billion tax cut for banks and other big businesses.

Investigate the impacts of increased market concentration on income inequality in Australia and produce policy recommendations on how the negative effects of market concentration can be

mitigated.

Too busy defending loopholes that multinational companies use to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Encourage States and Territories to include competition principles in planning and zoning legislation, as recommended by the Harper Review, with a specific focus on shortfalls of

appropriately zoned land for key services in disadvantaged communities.

Zip.

It’s clear that if you want a party that protects consumers, vote Labor.

FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2016