Andrew Barr, I don’t want another Coles in Dickson. I want more small business – and I think Jon Stanhope would agree with me.
The greatest moral struggle of our generation is whether governments have the capacity, or the will, to represent their fellow citizens firstly and fundamentally, and at the exclusion of vested interests that set to exploit populations and markets upon which a citizenry depends.
The Labor/Liberal duopoly obediently supports the corporate duopoly of Coles and Woolworths.
It often strikes me that so many freethinking men and women (mostly men) will run to the defence of large corporations with such vigilance, and yet to the defence of individuals with an equal force of laxity.
My moral objection to Coles and Woolworths is echoed by countless entities throughout Australia including The Council of Small Business of Australia, every independent politician I know, and most small political parties in Australia.
I have met so many people who have lost so much to this corporate duopoly as a result of their predatory and unprecedented market power.
Coles and Woolworths control 80% of Australia’s food, 400 hotels, Dan Murphy’s, BWS, First Choice, Liquor Land, Vintage Cellars, Big W, Kmart, Target, Bunnings, Office Works and Magnet Mart, and more pokie machines than any other consortium in Australia.
The food market is the most important market to a country, and for it to be controlled by a duopoly is a moral repugnance that does not exist in other developed nations. Such repugnance should not be supported by the ACT.
Coles and Woolworths are gradually replacing wholesome ingredients with rubbish like corn starch, vegetable oils and palm oils. They have become both the producer and the processor. In doing so, they seek to corporatise regional Australia, condemning the family farm to a national memory. This ruthless duopoly strangles small business and exploits consumers with misleading food labelling. They are dictating what food you eat, and they are dictating the way you buy fuel.
Canberra has lost its independent fuel suppliers, and we are now exposed to prices often in excess of 10 cents per litre higher than Sydney and Melbourne. This is not a result of transportation.
Do we want to live in a country where people on low incomes are forced to buy groceries from one corporate entity just so they can afford fuel for their family car?
There is no precedent for such a duopoly to exist in a modern developed economy.
Not even in America will you find such market dominance. Franklin D. Roosevelt dismantled Rockefeller’s and J.P. Morgan’s empire, and all without harming the shareholders. Through a sensible process of divestiture, Australia can do the same.
The ACT may hold her head high in many respects but when it comes to supporting small businesses, our Government has failed.