MP passes tough test explaining Royal Commission need
MEMBER for Page Kevin Hogan has taken the hard road to promote his call for a Royal Commission into the major supermarket chains and petrol pricing.
On Monday he put himself in front of Skynews interviewer David Speers to explain why an RC was necessary as well as answering questions about his move to the cross benches after the Federal Liberal Party's leadership spill in August.
Speers, fresh from skewering Victorian Coalition hopeful Michael Lamb over tax payer funding of power stations, found the defences of the Page MP harder to penetrate.
In the interview Mr Hogan said some of the practices of the supermarket chains were comparable if not worse to some of the practices of the big banks, uncovered in the banking Royal Commission.
Mr Hogan said the major supermarkets had behaved like bullies with their suppliers.
"When they negotiate those contracts, when they're dealing with how it's going to be delivered, the prices ... there's been a lot of cases over the years where they've been bullies," Mr Hogan said.
"There's been a couple of court cases over the years, brought by the ACCC, that found one of the major supermarkets did use unconscionable conduct and the supermarket was fined."
Mr Hogan said the government had also brought in an effects test to level the playing field between the supermarket and suppliers, but to date there have been no cases from it.
He said because of the power imbalance between the supermarkets and their suppliers, people were reluctant to come forward with complaints.
"I think the behaviour of the major supermarkets is up there, if not worse than the behaviour of the major banks."
Speers also quizzed Mr Hogan about his decision to include petrol pricing in the inquiry.
"In the past four weeks petrol prizes in my area - Lismore have been $1.55, $1.60 and in Brisbane, they've been $1.25.
"Now ... this isn't justifiable by transport costs. It doesn't cost that much to put it in a tanker and drive it down."
Mr Hogan said he had quizzed the ACCC commissioner Rod Sims about the price discrepancies and he could not explain it.
"This is ripping off country people," he said. "Sometimes we're the same price, but a lot of times we're a lot higher."
Mr Hogan said on Monday he handed a notice of motion to the Clerk of the Parliament about what he wanted the Royal Commission to look at.
He said it would go to a bipartisan selection panel for assessment and if the process goes to plan, it would be debated on Monday.