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Media Release

Lindsay Tanner, MP

Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs


20 May 1999




The announcement of a new Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council was at best window-dressing, and at worst, a f urther attempt to stifle consumer concerns, Lindsay Tanner, Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs said today.


“The terms of reference for this body are very narrow, with three of the four activities set out for it tightly controlled by the Minister.


“Consumer representatives are under-represented on the Council. A body to give voice to consumer concerns should have more genuine consumer representatives than those from predominantly legal and business backgrounds,” Lindsay Tanner said.


The real attitude of this Government to a voice for consumers can be seen in its actions:


·  The Howard Government took away the funding for the Consumers Federation of Australia, which had been a genuinely independent voice for consumers.

·  This Government downgraded the status of consumer affairs in the structure of the Government from a Department with its own minister, to a division of the Treasury, administered - when he has the time - by the Minister for Financial Services and Regulation.

·  The Howard Government is so indifferent to consumer issues that it does not even have the name “Consumer Affairs” in the Ministry.


“This new body is simply a replica of a body set up by previous Minister Truss. The Howard Government seems to think that consumers will be fooled by such smoke and mirrors tricks.


“And how ironic that the Minister chose to sneak into Ipswich to announce this so-called initiative when 4000 consumers in that city have just signed a petition to their local MP expressing their concerns about the Howard Government’s attack on food standards.


“How the Minister deals with this genuine consumer issue will be a better bench-mark of the Howard Government’s concerns about consumers,” Lindsay Tanner said.


For additional comment:

Lindsay Tanner or Gary Moorhead

(03)9347 5000  (0418)555 877


md 1999-05-24  14:27