A toothless chihuahua? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, neoliberalism and supermarket power in Australia

Lawrence, Geoffrey, Richards, Carol, Loong, Mark and Burch, David (2012) A toothless chihuahua? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, neoliberalism and supermarket power in Australia. Rural Society, 21 3: 250-263. doi:10.5172/rsj.2012.21.3.250

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Author Lawrence, Geoffrey
Richards, Carol
Loong, Mark
Burch, David
Title A toothless chihuahua? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, neoliberalism and supermarket power in Australia
Journal name Rural Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1037-1656
Publication date 2012-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.5172/rsj.2012.21.3.250
Volume 21
Issue 3
Start page 250
End page 263
Total pages 14
Place of publication Maleny, QLD, Australia
Publisher eContent Management
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract During the Senate Inquiry into ‘milk price wars’ in 2011, Senator Nick Xenophon accused the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) of being ‘less effective than a toothless Chihuahua’. This follows the ACCC’s lack of action regarding the reported abuse of market power of Australia’s supermarket duopoly, where an extensive inquiry into the competitiveness of retail prices in 2008 found grocery retailing to be ‘workably competitive’ despite numerous claims to the contrary. How can farmers’ submissions to the inquiry that cite market abuse be reconciled with the ACCC’s finding that all is well in the food supply chain? Following an in-depth examination of 53 farmer submissions to the inquiry, we conclude that the findings of the ACCC are commensurate with the neoliberal economisation of the political sphere, where commercial entities ‘legitimately’ govern beyond their corporate boundaries, often using disciplinary measures that were once exclusive to governments. We argue that such clear structural inequalities between farmers and major corporations is reason to re-regulate markets and reinsert a stronger role for government to ‘level the playing field’.
Keyword Supermarkets
Farmers
ACCC
Neoliberalism
Economisation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
TC Beirne School of Law Publications
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 20:35:59 EST by Debbie Lim on behalf of School of Social Science