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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kevin Rudd goes a price watching - ACCC and all!

Kevin, didn't know you cared. Fancy you referring to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) a price watch mechanism on grocery prices.

Fresh from the support of Howard's Aboriginal Shock and Awe/Blitzkrieg, via an appearance at the Lowy Institute for International Policy explaining how to tidy up the nether regions surrounding the island continent, your positioning yourself as the consumer's best friend. A-a-a-h, Kevin.

Sorry, don't see you as either Ralph Nader or a re-incarnation of Gabby Horan. However, there are a few things, Kevin, that Miss Eagle would like to know:

  1. When Woolworths campaigns on rolling back prices what does this mean for a) employees and b) the farmers who supply Woolworths. Perhaps these questions could be directed to Roger Corbett AM (for Woolworths) and Donald McGauchie AO (for the National Farmers Federation and all farmers) who are each members of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia?
  2. Does rolling back food prices or depressing prices through monopoly/duopoly market share mean depressing the income of workers and farmers?
  3. If this is so, doesn't it mean that consumers ought to be told the truth about how cheap food at the hands of a retail oligarchy can mean a lower livelihood for many Australians? Y'see, Kev, some of us are a bit scared of the Wal-Mart syndrome - and even an invasion of Wal-Mart itself (what with Wal-Mart's mascot of The Rollback Man 'n' all).
  4. Would you run this by Warwick McKibbin, another RBA Board member, next time you are over at the Lowy Institute - particularly when, in a globalized economic environment, governments in higher waged western countries are looking at ways of depressing incomes to compete with low-waged Asian countries providing huge numbers of cheap imports.
  5. Oops - after the last part of Q.4 Miss E recalled how we have an almost open slather - due to the lessening or elimination of tariffs and quotas - for imports irrespective of the Current Account Deficit. But perhaps you and Warwick can nut this one out as well.
  6. While you're at it, could you run over and have a chat with Ian Harper at the Fair Pay Commission? You might take Warwick with you. Professor Harper made it plain in his recent speech at the National Press Club that, other than the RBA, his was the only organisation with such economic and decision-making independence and that it was the RBA that the FPC should be most logically compared with. With the RBA's role on interest rates and the FPC's role for the lowly paid, this is of cold comfort to the recipients of the low wage rise just given in an economy said to be booming and whose high-end recipients could pay the annual wages of numerous low wage earners all on their own.

So Kevin - more and better information please, otherwise this is merely window-dressing and a very poor attempt to look like a man of the ordinary people.