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The Heydon Report: It's not simply about the unions

Friday, January 08, 2016

According to ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips, the Turnbull government is setting itself up for policy and political failure. This is because of the way the government has responded to the report by Justice Heydon into union corruption released last week.

Justice Heydon’s report details widespread corruption in unions and businesses. Yet the Turnbull government’s almost gleeful response hammers only unions. This response reflects political stupidity. It has opened itself to a campaign which suggests  that the Coalition is anti-worker and runs a political protection racket for corrupt employers. More...


ACCC continues to send mixed messages on collective bargaining

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Yes,  it’s illegal to smoke marijuana but it’s okay to use a bong! That seems to be the type of message the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission is sending in its latest decision to allow the Transport Workers Union to bargain collectively with the giant Japanese-owned transport company Toll.

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll notice we’ve been persistent in pushing the ACCC to do something to stop unions and big businesses colluding to rort competition for their own benefit. More...


Updates: Spotlight on transparency; insecure work, yet again

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This week, in Business Spectator, ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips wrote about a ‘mystery’ box that arrived in the post for him some years ago. It contained the true financial records of a major trade union. The records differed from the union’s publicly declared accounts. The point of Ken's article is that full transparency and disclosure should be imposed on the big superannuation funds or we could see corruption scandals in superannuation similar to those we are seeing with unions.  More...


Impeaching the Tax Commissioner (and other corruption)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Australians may not know all that much about the Tea Party in the USA. It’s effectively a party within the Republican Party defined as ‘hard right.’ Well, it is campaigning to have the US Tax (IRS) Commissioner impeached by Congress. In 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting for scrutiny Tea Party groups in the 2012 election. Thousands of Tea Party members were targeted with ‘audits, threats and onerous interrogations’ because of their political affiliation.

Corruption or not by the IRS, it does demonstrate the extraordinary power of the instruments of the state. We don’t have a ‘corruption’ problem with the Australian Taxation Office but we did reiterate to Prime Minister Turnbull early this month that the treatment of self-employed people by the ATO is holding back entrepreneurship and innovation. The PM has referred our letter to the Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer and we will be talking with her.  More...


ACCC to look more closely at union-bosses collusion

Monday, August 17, 2015

The dirty ‘weird silence’ of Australian industrial relations laws is that select big businesses collude with some unions to manipulate competition and fix prices. They do this to achieve market advantage. They pay unions for this.

Australia’s competition regulator, the ACCC, has been doing nothing to stop this. But no longer! Last Friday evening, the head of the ACCC, Rod Sims, delivered a speech saying that they have woken up.  More...


So big businesses don’t like having their powers cut back. How surprising!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Big business is angry that the Abbott government is proposing to make anti-competitive behaviour by them more difficult. New laws would restrict big businesses from abusing their market power. Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has hit back saying big business is talking “utter nonsense”. We agree.

Just recently, Coles had to refund $12m to 200 suppliers due to unconscionable conduct by Coles. And the competition regulator (ACCC) is finally responding to evidence of big business cartels in the construction industry. What’s odd is that unions and Labor seem be lining up with big business on this. More...


It is naive to think that Australia is not a corrupt country

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Australians tend to look down on developing countries, viewing many of them as suffering from wide-scale corruption. We think of Australia as relatively clean. We have independent authorities that root out and investigate corruption. Where corruption is found, we see it as the bad behaviour of individuals and not something that’s inbuilt into our social, legal, political, governance and business systems.

However, ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips has recently written a series articles for Business Spectator that put a different view. He argues that there’s plenty of evidence that, in Australia, we have corruption ingrained in key institutional arrangements. Our corruption is undertaken at a highly sophisticated level and is even given ‘legal’ cover. It sits under our noses but we choose to ignore it. More...


Something stinks with our competition laws: ICA makes submission

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ICA has made a submission to the Federal Government’s Review of Competition Policy. We’ve decided not to be gentle in expressing our views.

The system stinks. It’s corrupt. Industrial relations laws and practices override competition policy and law, and thereby corrupt competition.  More...


ICA takes on Big Business, Big Union, Big Regulator with legal appeal

Friday, November 07, 2014

You may recall that in the middle of last month ICA was highly critical of the Australian competition regulator, the ACCC.

The ACCC had granted approval for the transport union, the TWU, to ‘collectively bargain’ with the transport giant Toll on behalf of some owner-drivers. We had previously lodged an objection to the application by the TWU. We objected because Toll had admitted that it was making secret payments ($50,000 plus) to the TWU on the condition that the TWU harass Toll’s competitors. More...


Competition watchdog's extraordinary double standard

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recent newspapers report that Australia’s competition protector, the ACCC, is taking action against giant Coles over the way it treats its suppliers. It’s good to see the ACCC challenging big business practices against small business people.

But just yesterday the ACCC effectively sanctioned anti-competitive collusive behaviour by a business ‘in bed’ with a union. The double standard displayed by the ACCC is extraordinary. The signal the ACCC is sending is that if a business wants to be anti-competitive and they do that through a union, then that’s okay. More...



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