I appeared (by telephone) before the Senate banking inquiry yesterday. The press appear to have paid more attention to Gail Kelly than my pearls of wisdom.
One ‘left field’ question related to retrospective examination of ACCC merger decisions. Should someone (perhaps the Productivity Commission) take a look at the ACCC merger decisions over the past decade and see whether they have ‘made a difference’? Does the evidence show that the ACCC is applying the regulatory test at the right point, or is it being too soft or too hard?
This type of retrospective study represents best regulatory practice. The U.S. antitrust authorities have carried out this type of study. One recently published example is in the Review of Industrial Organization (subscriber only). However, such a study is a major piece of work as the econometricians have to try and tease out the relevant effects.
The benefits of such a study are clear. It allows feedback to both the regulators and the legislature about our competition laws and their implementation. If the federal government made the resources available to do this exercise (and required relevant businesses to provide relevant data, such as retail scan data) then this would be a good outcome.