The Federal Small Business Minister has been criticised for misrepresenting the facts and creating mischief regarding her comments relating to State Small Business Ministers and the Trade Practices Act.
Western Australia’s Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk and Chair of the Small Business Ministerial Council said Federal Minister Fran Bailey’s version of what happened at the recent Ministerial Council did not reflect what really took place.
Mrs Bailey accused Labor State and Territory Ministers of playing party politics after they voiced their concerns about reform of the Trade Practices Act.
Ms Quirk said all State Ministers were critical of the proposed amendments because they did not do enough to protect small business from creeping acquisitions, and predatory or unconscionable conduct by big business operators.
“Our view was that the proposed changes to the Trade Practices Act were simply too little, too late,” Ms Quirk said.
“Instead of listening to our concerns, we were stonewalled by the Federal Government’s refusal to discuss its proposed amendments to the Trade Practices Act.
“It was disappointing that the Federal Minister was not even prepared to discuss this issue at the meeting. She basically shut down the discussion and tried to bolt for the door, refusing to reach a compromise on a joint communique.
“Minister Bailey seems to be upset that the meeting wasn’t the sort of stage-managed charade usually put on by the Federal Government, but was instead a robust discussion of issues of real importance to small business.
“The State and Territory representatives around the table were all there in good faith, and the only grandstanding came from a very unco-operative Federal Minister.”
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