The Power Of The Purchase

In recent weeks I have raised concerns about the growing socialist tendencies of our major parties. Despite the ample evidence that Government meddling makes almost every matter they are trying to fix worse, it doesn’t stop them from ‘doing stuff.’ No sooner have we cleaned up one mess from the last price intervention rolled down from Capital Hill, they’re pushing others.

The activity of ‘doing’ rather than actual outcomes, is the stock-in-trade of government and this brings out the worst in many elected representatives.

Such behaviour was on full display this week by both Labor and Liberal, this time surrounding milk prices.

It began with one major supermarket putting up the price of their milk. When others refused to follow suit, the agriculture minister went into meltdown, calling for a boycott of those retailers refusing to make milk more expensive.

Not to be outdone, Labor have decided they will legislate a higher price for milk. The party that purports to represent the downtrodden wants to increase their cost of living!

Price controls have ended in failure wherever they have been tried in the world but somehow Labor thinks their price controls will be different.

Heck, if it is such a good idea for milk, why not do the same for bread, eggs, meat, wool and wheat? Actually, why not have the government set a minimum or maximum price for everything we buy? They don’t because even the dumbest politician knows it would be idiotic.

Why then is it ok to have price regulation for one commodity but not others?

The Coalition chose another version of centralised price setting. In an attempt to drive the price of milk up, they called for a boycott of those retailers who refuse to charge you more. That’s the new-fangled socialist version of market economics. Actually, it’s not new-fangled at all, it is plain old nonsense.

Consumers make a choice every single time they shop. If they want to buy cheap milk they will. If one supermarket doesn’t offer what the consumer wants then they will make a decision to pay more or change where they shop.

When one of the major issues confronting Australian families is cost of living pressures; it is simply extraordinary that both major parties want to make your weekly grocery shop even more expensive.

I know many of us feel strongly about supporting domestic food producers, particularly dairy farmers who are doing it tough, but government interference in pricing isn’t the answer. Drought doesn’t discriminate, but apparently, governments do.

Far better to remove the red, green and other regulatory tape imposed on primary producers. Other nations blessed with far less natural attributes than Australia manage to have a profitable dairy system. Wouldn’t it be wise to learn from them?

If government really wants to intervene, perhaps they could dismantle the cartel-like arrangements by dairy processors. Perhaps they could encourage more local co-operatives, assist in establishing export markets and the development of local branding. Australian made percentage country-of-origin labelling has been a good step in this direction.

Farmers and consumers are perfectly entitled and justified in mounting campaigns encouraging other consumers to buy from one store or another or one brand over another. In fact, right now they’re doing a sterling job of it, and that’s civil society at work - but government should stay right out of it.

Ultimately though, it is up to the consumer. Every one of us is empowered to register our views with every single purchase.

Things that make you go Hmm…

Labor targets river farmers, Liberal Tinder tactics backfire as could this Broad swipe – but at least Amanda gets it. NSW buries funeral fraud, Western Victoria welcomes wizards and there’s another side of DV.

The UK mulls a two-wei street, Labour splits and Boohoo to this fashion backfire Gender and athletics cross lanes, China hits a taxing baby bump and is ‘PC’ letting off the thought police?  Trump’s not laughing at SNL, New York implodes Amazon’s city-shopping but welcomes hirsute lawsuits