Firebrand MP Bob Katter takes aim at supermarkets pigging out on profits in latest stunt

Mar 01, 2024
In addition to taking on the supermarkets, Katter recently took a bold stand against the growing trend toward a cashless society. Source: Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS.

In a spectacle that turned heads, Australian politicians Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie made a bold statement by donning bright pink pig suits and parading through the hallowed halls of Parliament recently.

Dressed head to toe in swine costumes, the independent duo snuffled from troughs filled with cash, creating a surreal scene that turned heads and raised eyebrows.

The theatrical display was not just for laughs, it was a call for action on a bill aimed at reducing the market dominance of supermarket titans such as Coles and Woolworths.

The proposed legislation would compel Coles and Woolworths to divest at most 20 per cent of their market power within five years. It also seeks to establish a food retail commissioner with the authority to prevent price gouging and other anti-competitive behaviours.

Senator Katter is particularly keen on scrapping the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, claiming it enables supermarkets to control suppliers and producers.

The government has already stepped in, directing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to scrutinise prices and competition while appointing former Labor minister Craig Emerson to review the grocery code of conduct.

But the two independents say the government must do more to stop them from undercutting farmers and charging consumers “a squillion dollars”, in the words of Katter.

“Are we just going to continue with (the supermarket chains) screwing the farmers down through the floor and charging the consumers a squillion dollars,” Katter told reporters.

“Nowhere in the world, with the likely exception of North Korea … is there such a duopoly of supermarkets,” Wilkie added.

“They use that monopoly, and the power from their monopoly, to charge whatever they want.”

In addition to taking on the supermarkets, Katter recently took a bold stand against the growing trend toward a cashless society, refusing to stand down after his $50 note was rejected at a cafe in Parliament House.

Katter was left fuming after a staff member at the Parliament House cafe refused to accept his cash for lunch. Undeterred, he promptly demanded the manager review the legalities of such a refusal, insisting that it was illegal not to accept cash as it is considered legal tender.

The incident reignited the debate surrounding the decline of physical money as a preferred method of payment and the potential ramifications of a cashless future.

Speaking to Sky News Australia on Wednesday, February 7 Katter recounted the confrontation, stressing the broader issues at stake.

“She (staff member) said ‘we don’t accept cash’ and I said ‘well, too bad for you, you have too, it’s legal tender, and it’s illegal for you to not accept cash’,” Katter said.

“We’ve had a lot of anti-cash rallies in Queensland… If you have a cashless society, the banks control your life.”

Katter went on to express concern over the increasing reliance on digital transactions

“You’re not able to buy a loaf of bread without permission from the bank, it is bad enough now but it will be infinitely worse,” he said.

Despite initially refusing to accept his cash, Katter stood firm, demanding that the café adhere to the law.

“I said ‘no I will stand here and you’ll accept this legal tender, if you don’t you’re breaking the law’ and so the manager came down, he ran off and came back and said ‘yeah it is the law, we do have to accept cash’,” he said.

-with AAP.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up