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Liberals back free markets, not oligopolies gouging power customers

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07.12.2018

The Liberal Party is convinced that free markets are by far the best way to generate wealth and thinks that allowing people to do what’s in their best commercial interests will usually maximise society’s economic well-being. But that doesn’t mean “anything goes”.

The party has never believed in unfettered markets, any more than it’s ever believed that the ordinary law of the land is redundant. No sensible government should allow market forces to deprive its citizens of an essential service or allow a market oligopoly to profiteer at people’s expense.

Maintaining power when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine. Credit:Glenn Hunt

Weirdly, it’s now the Labor Party that is defending the ability of companies like AGL to rip people off. The government’s “big stick” legislation – which Labor is against – is designed to stop power companies failing to pass on price reductions or manipulate the market for their own gain.

As a last resort, on the ACCC’s recommendation and after a decision of the Federal Court, the government supports the break-up of businesses that consistently exploit their market power. Similar divestiture powers have long existed in the United States and the United Kingdom, which are hardly bastions of socialism.

I’m looking forward to the “big stick” being waved at AGL, which has announced the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station in three years’ time, despite the likelihood of blackouts or power........

© WA Today