from the quill of Antisthenes
I shudder whenever somebody mentions new, better, more effective laws. I know very well what it means – in 95% of cases the old laws were not enforced and somebody, politicians, public service or both need an excuse. It applies in all spheres, including so-called consumer protection. There the politicians are faced with a dilemma: protect the confused and by empty promises easily bought voters or the election and other less visible funds donating importers of shoddy merchandise?
The answer is obvious, yet from time to time our elected representatives pretend to put our interests over theirs. So we got a new Australian Consumer Law 2011 to appease us and to make us forget that the same public servants who could not be bothered to enforce the old laws are unlikely to upset their political masters by enforcing a new one. Of all the ineffectual public servants at the taxpayers’ tit it is hard to see the worse coven than that currently resting in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC, also known as Australia to China Conversion Commission). Often I imagine its capo di capi, Graeme Samuel, running around the offices a la Basil of Fawlty Towers fame with a towel around his head: “Don’t mention the Chinese, don’t mention the Chinese.” They don’t. Our fraternal trade relationship with the communist dictatorship is paramount.
According to the Queensland Office of Fair Trading complaints about personal and household goods rose last year more than 20% on the previous year. OFT achieved redress in almost 18,000 cases amounting to $421.67 per complaint. When one considers that perhaps another three-quarters of aggrieved persons would prefer a visit to a dentist to any involvement with Queensland bureaucracy, the number is staggering. No wonder Harvey Norman and other killers of the Australian manufacturing are unhappy and actively lobby to close the opportunity of overseas purchases through Internet. With nuisances like OFT they can easily deal later. Otherwise, what would their lucrative world come to?