Jacqui Lambie is an Australian Senator for Tasmania and leader of the Jacqui Lambie Network.
Appearing for Sky News in December 2023, Ms. Lambie was asked if Australians had been “ripped off” by Coles and Woolworths. Ms. Lambie responded:
“We’ve been ripped off for years from Coles and Woolies, let's be honest. They’re like a bloody cartel and I think everybody knows that.”
The supermarket giants have been called to appear before a senate inquiry scheduled for early 2024. The inquiry is intended to investigate the supermarket duopoly’s market share and allegations of price gouging.
Ms. Lambie applauded The Greens for spearheading the inquiry into the supermarket giants but also questioned the government’s failure to strengthen the ACCC to fix the problem:
“I simply say to the government, what is stopping you from putting more people into the ACCC to get the job done and give them the power they need to make sure that they can do their job? What is stopping the government, honestly. Where is the Prime Minister?"
Both Coles and Woolworths have also been called upon by Murray Watt, the Minister for Agriculture, to commit to a price freeze of grocery staples before Christmas Day to ease the cost-of-living crisis during the holiday period.
The Closing Loopholes Bill
In November of 2023 it was reported that Ms. Lambie, along with fellow Senator, David Pocock, were in a “standoff” with the government over the new industrial relations reforms. The senate passed four smaller bills which contained uncontroversial elements from the larger bill regarding asbestos, discrimination, small business and work health and safety. Ms. Lambie asserted that Labor never should have packaged so many reforms within a single a “monster” bill.
However Labor has insisted that the Closing Loopholes bill be passed as originally proposed leading to the minister for workplace relations and leader of the lower house, Tony Burke, refusing to guarantee a vote for the smaller reforms. Ms. Lambie called the move “stupid”:
“They would be really, really stupid to do that before Christmas…That would not be a smart way to play politics. It was a stupid way they did it in the first place…Surely they couldn’t be dumber, dumb and dumber, surely?”
Sources & Further Reading