Here’s Frydenberg at it again:
And in the words of the AMEC, you only get offered a discount from the energy company when you threaten to leave to go to another one. That’s effectively a loyalty tax that’s being imposed on the customers (and) that’s not good enough — these companies have a social licence to operate…
God help us! And again, what planet does he live on? All businesses, particularly those within the insurance industry, that are not contract based, will offer additional discounts to avoid losing existing customers. All businesses, including power companies, operate to make, indeed to maximise, a profit and if they do not do so they will be punished in the stock market and investors will lose. In the long run, their success depends upon them being flexible and nimble and this includes variable pricing. The upside for customers in this business model is that they do, now, have this leverage – leverage they would not have if they were locked into contracts (which would be the preferred model of the business).
And as for ‘social licence to operate’. To hear that from a supposedly conservative government minister just beggars belief and gives me virtually no hope for the future. Wasn’t it Frydenberg who, contemptuously, rejected Tony Abbott’s call for the government to step in and purchase Liddell if AGL refused to keep it going, as being contrary to the ‘free market principles’ that Conservatives espouse. How does the concept of a ‘social licence to operate’ fit in with those principles, Josh?
If there is such a thing as a ‘social licence to operate’ in our democratic society it does not reside on the market side of the equation. From time immemorial, societies have advanced on the back of trade – the willing exchange of goods, services and money. It does not need a licence to operate – it operates because that is what society wants and needs. If anyone should be constrained by a ‘social licence to operate’ it is government. We, the people, grant to government, certain powers to intervene in our normal endeavours for strictly limited purposes, for example, to protect us against wrong doing by powerful corporations. At least, that’s how it should work. What we are increasingly seeing is that government is ignoring its ‘social licence to operate’ and imposing itself more and more into our lives. Government has become its own raison d’etre.