HomeFoodGreens target supermarkets with proposal to break up companies

Greens target supermarkets with proposal to break up companies

The federal Greens party has launched its plan to fight back against alleged supermarket price gouging, and it’s not mucking around.

The party intends to table a private senator’s bill in the Australian parliament this week, which will give the government divestiture powers into competition law.

In layman’s terms, that means the government can break up companies.

The party’s economic justice spokesperson, Senator Nick McKim, told The Guardian they will seek support across the parliament for their plan, which would allow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to apply for a court order requiring large companies to divest assets if their market power is unfairly inflating prices or blocking competition.

The Greens are using a broad brush to cover all private businesses, but are open about the fact that their proposal is aimed squarely at the supermarket duopoly. 

Ruthless market power

“The giant supermarket corporations have had it their way for far too long,” Senator McKim said. 

“It’s time that the interests of people took precedence over the profits of corporations.” 

“We need to stop supermarket corporations ruthlessly using their market power to gouge prices while raking in billions of dollars in profits. 

“Giving our courts and competition regulators the power to smash the supermarket duopoly will help rein them in. 

“This isn’t a controversial or radical proposition. The UK has this power, and the US has been using it for well over a century.”

He’s right, but the last time the US successfully used its antitrust laws was back in the ’80s.

While you can admire their commitment to everyday consumers, let’s face it, such a proposal will need the support of at least one of the major parties and there is no political will on either side of government for such radical change. The major parties have no intention of spooking the business sector by introducing any such laws.

At least it’s more reasonable than the Victorian Greens proposal, which was basically to place supermarkets under direct government supervision and set prices. Never going to happen.

This week’s best specials


Sensible: Optimum Dry Dog Food, 2.5-3kg selected varieties, $15, save $9. We love our pets, but be damned if they are not expensive. Grab a few bags of this and you can easily save $50. Good value for a great product.

Indulgence: Hard Rated alcoholic lemon drink, $20 for a four-pack. This is the repackaged Hard Solo that met its demise after people quite rightly pointed out the packaging looked too much like the soft drink. I mean it did look like a soft drink, but a quick visit to any bottle shop and there are at least 50 pre-mixes that also look like soft drinks and no-one is complaining about them.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: World Kitchen Potato Gnocchi, $3.99. Purists look away now, but I have discovered you can fry these and it’s been a game changer for adding carbs to your meal. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan, drop them in and stir until a bit golden, which is about 15 minutes. Delicious. Best results with a half butter/half oil mixture.

Indulgence: Orchard and Vine Smoothie Mix, $5.99. Love the convenience of these frozen smoothie mixes. No more a little bit of this and a pinch of that, just tip these into a blender, add your liquid of choice and away you go.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Blackmores vitamins, selected range half price, $20. If you suffer from muscle twitches or cramps, get hold of Blackmores Bio Magnesium. It will sort you out in a couple of days. Recommended to me more than 20 years ago by my GP. Love the stuff.

Indulgence: Lindt Lindor Bag, varieties, $7, save $3. If money is no object for your Easter egg hunt, Lindt is your go-to brand. Definitely a ‘sometimes’ food though. I’m desperate to try the cheesecake variety.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Rexona deodorants, half price. I try not to sing the praises of one particular brand, but this is the only supermarket deodorant that goes all day. Very rarely on half price anymore so snap it up while you can. While we are on toiletries, silver foxes should consider Toni and Guy’s half price at $15 purple shampoo and conditioner, great for grey hair.

Indulgence: Australian Lamb loin chops, $20/kg. I can’t remember the last time I saw loin chops this cheap. Has anyone? Remember when it was a weekly staple? Best under the grill with nothing more than salt and pepper.

See the catalogue here.

Do you think the Australian government should have the power to break up companies? Why not share your opinion in the comment section below?

Also read: Supermarket pricing tactics lead to unhealthy choices, data shows

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I really can’t understand the level of anti supermarket sentiment.. if the companies like coles snd Woolies are made to sell part of their business where would that leave us? We have a very small market and the only other supermarkets are IGAs and Aldi.. do you really want towns with only an IGA?? I think country towns without a coles Woolies or Aldi are far less attractive a place to live in as food prices are so much higher.. be careful what you wish for.. yes put in place regulations that prevent farmers being bullied and unfairly not paid adequately for their produce but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here!!!

  2. Yes totally agree giving government power to regulate prices would be a disaster. What we need is for government charges to be regulated.the government are worse than supermarkets when it comes to ripping of the people

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