One Fels Swoop
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission swooped on Federal Government offices across the country.
The raids, prompted by various readers' letters published in national newspapers, suggest the ACCC is on to something big and is about to attempt to prosecute the Government under the Trade Practices Act.
The ACCC chairman Allan Fels, under attack from various government backbenchers, took the opportunity to take a controlled swipe at his critics.
"It is obvious that the Opposition is not in a position to bring the Government to account. The Government is not above the law and they should be held accountable. I am concerned about policy fixing and rorting in the political system. I am not suggesting the Liberal and Labor parties ar operating a cartel, but there does seem to be a remarkable similarity in certain areas. This needs to be examined closely.
"We have been successful with prosecutions before, and if the Liberal party is not afraid of losing an election, perhaps the threat of a jail term would encourage compliance with the Fair Trade Practices Act", he said
Professor Fels went on to add that he was disturbed by the fact that political parties all operated from the same building in Canberra.
"We have a number of major fuel companies in this country, the public would have every right to be suspicious if they all occupied the same building," said Fels.
A successful prosecution will be a significant victory for the ACCC. This would be welcomed by the minor political parties who have so far failed to make any significant political impact despite years of trying.
If Professor Fels and his posse of raiders have struck gold, and enough documentary evidence of policy collusion is uncovered it will be a significant development.
Both the Liberal and Labor parties deny any such collusion. They maintain that public perception of them controlling policy is false.
Observers believe their is insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution under the Trade Practices Act.
"This is just a blatant grab for more power by Mr Fels," said Bronwyn Bishop shredding a piece of paper. "There is no way we would be colluding with the Labor party as they have no policies of their own. It is not our fault if they cannot provide better competition. Besides Mr Fels cannot prove anything."
The minor parties have welcomed the ACCC raids.
Even former One Nation star Pauline Hanson voiced her approval of the intervention.
"Perhaps someone will now please explain how I can be charged with fraud while the major parties continue ripping off the Australian public," Mrs Hanson said. "Hopefully, the truth will come out."
Fearful of losing a press opportunity Democrats leader Natasha Stott Despoja called a hasty press conference.
"We have always believed the major parties have been colluding to keep us out of power. We have always maintained the whole system of preferential voting is weighted in favour of the two-party system," Stott Despoja said.
However, even if the ACCC gets to the bottom of this murky situation, it will only be dealing with a very small part of the picture.
While Professor Fels continues his struggle factors beyond even his control will keep political policy very much as it is at the moment.
Professor Fels denied this was just a publicity stunt designed "to keep the bastards honest".
He also denied this was the beginning of a campaign that would see him become the next Governor General. Although speculation abounds that Professor Fels could even be a future President of an Australian republic.
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