Government must back Labor on small business after Senate humiliation - Media Release


The Coalition suffered a humiliating loss last night after being forced to admit it didn’t have the numbers to block Labor’s Small Business Access to Justice policy, which helps small business to bring cases of anti-competitive behaviour to court.

Scott Morrison must stop backing the big end of town and change his position on our Access to Justice policy, which passed the Senate last night without division after Mathias Cormann admitted:

“I actually believe that the Government doesn't have the numbers for this amendment, we accept that.”

The Coalition previously voted against the measure in a 2017 Private Senators Bill.

Currently, small businesses are less likely to take up private litigation against anti-competitive behaviour. Big businesses have deep pockets and armies of lawyers, so the risk of small businesses being bankrupted by legal fees is a significant disincentive to taking action against anti-competitive conduct.

Labor’s Access to Justice policy will level the playing field by allowing a small business to request a ‘no adverse costs order’ early in a court case. If the judge decides that the case is in the public interest, the small business won’t have the risk of paying the other side’s costs if they lose. It’s backed by peak small business groups.

Now that the amended bill passed the Senate, it will return to the House of Representatives, where Scott Morrison has the chance to perform a last-minute backflip, and finally support small business and competitive markets.

The amendment can be found HERE.


Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.