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CANBERRA: The Australian MP who released the Rudd Government's draft national ‘unfair contract' terms provision for public comment has been elevated to Cabinet prior to the introduction of the controversial new legislation.
The Hon Chris Bowen MP was formally the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs and as such was the driving force behind the pursuit of improved consumer protection.
‘Mr Bowen becomes Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law, as well as Minister for Human Services.'
‘Dr Craig Emerson, currently Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy and Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation, will also [now] become Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs.' SMH
Franchisees already believe that Emerson will at best water down recommended reform. Call me suspicious but I would have to now be concerned at the passage of ‘unfair contract' legislation. In fact I smell a rat.
While The Hon Mr Bowen was to suggest; ‘But any standard form contract, one which is not sat down and negotiated through, but which is plonked in front of you to sign, those terms will be up for review under the unfair contracts law', Emerson is the Minister who up until recently had refused to acknowledge the existence of the 11 Recommendations from the Bernie Ripoll chaired Federal Franchising Inquiry.
Now coincidentally Emerson now has been handed control over much of what influences franchising when it has already been suggested by franchisees that he has been got at. But this reshuffle came from the top.
I would have to wonder that if needed legislation influencing franchising doesn't go through under Emerson then Mr Rudd accepts victims of rogue franchising under deficient and immoral law and regulation as ‘collateral damage' and ‘statistically insignificant'. If that were to be true then I would wonder why the Prime Minister of Australia would bless the existence of such abuse and injustice. This sounds more like a dead rat bounce in this reshuffle; a Rudd rat.
Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy
Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation,
Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs.