Competition inside the Coalition torpedoes good competition policy - Joint Media Release


Joint Media Release with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen

Sooner or later Malcolm Turnbull is going to have to make a decision on the economy.

Today’s presentation by the rookie Treasurer on the Harper review and the effects test in particular, was embarrassing. [Shorter Morrison: after a two year review process, we’ve decided to have another review!]

The fact is, Malcolm Turnbull had to do deals to be elected Leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister and we’re seeing that play out today in the Government’s response to the Harper review.

This is Government economic policy paralysis writ large.

The Coalition should have come out today in responding to the Harper review and ruled out proceeding with a damaging effects test.

An effects test will chill competition and put upward pressure on consumer prices.

The Coalition is simply divided when it comes to economy policy.

We saw that with the Abbott Cabinet split over an effects test and we’ve seen it with Malcolm Turnbull’s deal with the Nationals to ensure an effects test is considered again by Cabinet.

Just last Sunday we saw the Turnbull Cabinet split over important foreign investment decisions, with the Trade Minister attacking the Treasurer over the S. Kidman & Co. cattlegrounds.

Scott Morrison is proving as effective as his predecessor in making tough economic decisions.

His decision on Kidman mirrored Mr Hockey’s approach of doing the dirty work of the National Party on foreign investment and the inaction and ongoing divisions on an effects test is Abbott-Hockey redux.

The final Harper report – and its recommendation for an effects test – was published 7 months ago, following a review process that began in December 2013.

And yet we still don’t know where Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison stand on an effects test.

How can the Coalition Government try to bind States and Territories to a report that it has failed to respond completely on?

The sleeper issue in today’s response by the Government to the Harper Competition Review, is how the Government intends to bind the States to the report’s recommendations.

The Treasurer needs to make it clear whether or not increases in the GST will be used to try and bind States and Territories.

Labor has already publicly responded to the draft Harper report and will carefully consider today’s response from the Government.


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