“Big Stick” legislation

The so-called “Big Stick” energy legislation proposed by the government would have forced energy companies to divest their assets if they were found by a court to have abused their market power by engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.

The Bill failed to pass in the Parliament, however, because the government abandoned its own policy. The government withdrew the legislation after the Parliament sought to amend it to prevent the government supporting and financing new coal-fired power stations.

We do in fact need a "Big Stick" for all companies found to have abused their market power and engaged in anti-competitive or anti-consumer behaviour, not only those in the energy market. The government should have accepted the proposed amendments that would have prevented government financing of coal-fired power stations. They should have certainly passed the legislation to allow business breakups where they abuse market power.

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