Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Local Retailers Call on Government to Ban the Internet
CANBERRA–In the wake of the 2015-16 federal budget, the local retailers are calling on the government to do more for local business by banning the Internet.
Gerry Harvey, chairman of Harvey Norman has called on the government to shut down the Internet for all uses, except for the transmission of retailers' catalogues in Netscape browsers.
"It's not fair that people can buy things without walking into a store and being accosted by sweaty, middle-aged salesmen selling last year's products at an inflated price," Mr. Harvey said.
Although yesterday's federal budget imposed the 10% GST on so-called "intangible" goods such as music, movie and software downloads, Mr. Harvey says this is not good enough, "Holy shit, my business is fucked."
Local retailers, including Mr. Harvey, have waged a campaign for the abolition of the Low Value Threshold, or the value of goods that can be imported into Australia tax free. Now with the government receptive to imposing the GST on all imported goods, Mr. Harvey has moved on to other policy areas of concern.
"Having to compete with innovative entrepreneurs in other countries is simply unfair. It's not a level playing field when our Netscape-compatible best viewed at 640x480 web zone has to compete with Amazon," Mr. Harvey said, "Shutting down the Internet will help local retailers close the gap and support local jobs."
Responding to fears limiting e-commerce could be viewed as protectionism in the global market, Mr. Harvey said: "I'm more than happy to use cheap, international labour to make our furniture. But having Australian customers cut out the middle-man is a step too far. It's about preserving local jobs," Mr. Harvey said. Apparently without irony.
More to follow...