WHILE Kevin Hogan will attempt to introduce a notice of motion for a Royal Commission next week in parliament, it seems both sides are reluctant to mention the words.

Mr Hogan, however, remains optimistic about his proposed call for a royal commission. The Daily Examiner contacted both the National Party and Labor party to see if they would support the royal commission in parliament sittings.

Both sides sent replies, the Nationals through leader and deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, and Labor through Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity Dr Andrew Leigh, with neither mentioning the words royal commission in the reply.

“The Nationals are concerned about cost of living pressures on regional Australians; including fuel prices for individual motorists and businesses,” Mr McCormack said.

“We understand fuel prices are higher in regional areas than for metropolitan consumers which is why we support strong regulations and oversight of the market to ensure fair competition drives pricing-setting.

“I look forward to holding discussions with my colleagues next week in Canberra when parliament returns about fuel prices and other matters concerning regional Australians.”

The answer continues to say that the ACCC is responsible for the oversight of commercial competition, and that it has been informed by a number of parliamentary inquiries in recent years.

“Our advocacy for fair competition in the energy market, out of concern for cost of living pressures, has led to reform recommendations to give government stronger powers and oversight to address anti-competitive or monopolistic behaviour.”

The Labor response to whether the party would support Mr Hogan’s call for a royal commission also skirts around the question.

“Labor has led the way on competition policy and standing up for consumers and small businesses,” Mr Leigh said.

“The government fought against Labor’s Small Business Access to Justice policy which would allow small businesses to take public interest court action against big players abusing market power without the risk of being bankrupted by large legal fees.

“The Member for Page should tell his Coalition partners that most immediate course of action would be for the government to adopt Labor’s competition policies and look out for consumers and small businesses, not the big end of town.”

When re-asked the question whether they would support Mr Hogan’s motion for a royal commission, neither side responded.

Mr Hogan said he would be speaking to all his colleagues when parliament resumed Monday, and said the process began by physically handing the notice to the clerk of the parliament.

“They’ll then table a notice paper on Tuesday, and then it goes to a selection panel on Wednesday, and if all goes according to plan it will be discussed in parliament on Monday December 3,” he said.

Extracted from Coffs Coast Advocate