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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3040

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (09:51): In continuation, I will summarise and say that the Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 is at best a bandaid solution that will not cure the disease. As Lindsay Fox, the chairman of one of the largest trucking companies in Australia, has come to realise, the problem is actually with the centralisation of market power in our retail sector. Mr Fox said this about our supermarket duopoly:

They are too big … You can't dictate the terms and conditions of what people have got to trade with you. And they are getting to that stage. They are trying to dictate to everyone.

They are expecting everything for nothing. They are going to crucify the farmers, crucify the bread manufacturers …

And they are crucifying our nation's truck drivers. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to the unions of the dangers to unionists that arise from the radical centralisation of powers that has occurred in many areas of our economy over the last 30 years. For, in the past, unions have been roped into supporting failed competition theory—a theory which has encouraged and rewarded the growing centralisation of power within our economy. Under it, there has been this dangerous belief that it would be easier for unions to organise workers after they had been lined up in rows by duopolies or oligopolies.

But there is a tipping point after which a more highly concentrated market is no longer good—not only for our nation's farmers and our nation's small businesses but also for our unionists and our entire nation. The circumstances our nation's truck drivers find themselves in today demonstrate that we are well past this tipping point. If we are going to restore hope, reward and opportunity to our nation's truck drivers, we can only do so by addressing the problem of the centralisation of market power that has occurred, especially in our retail sector. Sadly this is something that the Labor government refuses to even consider.