Political parties’ views on extended shopping hours

The Labor Government is keen for a ‘yes – yes’ response because it is under pressure from the NCC to deregulate shopping hours. In 2004 WA missed out on $7.5 million in national competition payments after Government plans for extending retail trading hours were defeated in the Upper House. Dr Gallop said he would pursue trading reforms and that it would be an election issue. “The Gallop Government supports a ‘yes’ vote for six hours of Sunday trading …… and to provide a level playing field for businesses willing to open their doors seven days a week.”

Liberal spokesperson, Mr Sullivan said the questions proposed by Labor were biased. The Liberals have garnered the support of the WA Independent Grocers’ Association which is made up of 40 small affiliated stores. Each store has been asked to contribute $5000 to support Liberal candidates in marginal seats. Mr Sullivan has said, the Liberal Party was happy to get financial support from anyone in the business community and that the fundraising was an initiative of the independent grocers. The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Barnett has indicated the Liberal party will support the outcome of the referendum.

The Greens WA support the right of West Australians to have a say on the issue, but the five members who hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council pushed for careful wording of the referendum questions. Greens MLC Dee Margetts said the debate needed to be open and fair and not dominated by those with “very deep pockets and corporate influence”. She believes consumers will reject the idea when they “realise the impact extended hours will have on community life, on sport, on volunteerism in general, on the amount of time people have with their loved ones and on competition. People will realise they will end up losing their local stores, their local pharmacies and their local sense of community and will vote accordingly.” Ms Margetts said it was crucial that a fair and balanced case was presented both for and against the concept of longer shopping hours.

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