In which it turns out that “free speech” for certain News Ltd columnists means the right of businesses to lie as they trade
The Coalition sends out flyers to small businesses encouraging them to raise prices and blame it on the “carbon tax”:
The Government responds, pointing out that lying to customers (even if Tony Abbott has told them to) could (as during the GST introduction by the Liberals) result in prosecution by the ACCC:
”Mr Abbott is recklessly encouraging businesses to increase their prices and to put a sign in their windows – authorised by his small business spokesperson Bruce Billson – blaming the carbon price,” Mr Bradbury said.
”If businesses make false carbon price claims they run the risk of breaching the Competition and Consumer Act and could be exposed to a $1.1 million fine for misleading consumers. Mr Abbott is putting small businesses in the firing line with his reckless negativity.”
Because the “Government’s own figures” Tony Abbott claims to base his scaremongering on completely contradict his lie:
Treasury has estimated the average price rise on meat and seafood in a standard shopping basket of goods as around 10 cents a week.
Similarly, an analysis on a Sydney butcher shop with a revenue of $2.1 million per year has shown that the businesses’ electricity bill of around $22, 000 per year – representing about 1 per cent of turnover – would rise by around 0.1 per cent, or $22.
The analysis found to pass on this cost increase, the butcher would have to increase the price of a $11 packet of mince meat by approximately one cent.
So, should businesses be encouraged to deceive consumers?
The Southbank Jester is outraged by the idea that they shouldn’t, spluttering:
The carbon totalitarians butcher free speech
The Gillard Government, already so hostile to free speech, now threatens to bankrupt butchers who badmouth its carbon tax: [quotes from Age article above]
Throw these thugs out while it’s still safe to speak.
So when Andrew Bolt talks about “free speech”, apparently he means the right of businesses to trick customers with lies.
Something to keep in mind.