Newsletter No. 18 – December 7, 2016

WAITING FOR GODOT…

Waiting for Godot is a play by the Irish Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, await the arrival of someone named Godot – but Godot never arrives. Originally written in French and translated into English by the author, the play opened in London in 1955 and has been constantly staged around the world ever since. In a poll conducted by the British Royal National Theatre it was voted the “most significant English language play of the 20th century”.

Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett
Winner Nobel Prize for Literature (1969)

That perhaps says more about the English theatre than it does about the play.

I only raise this literary curiosity because it jumped into my brain from my memories of high school English classes when I read the ASIC response to the ACCC request for an evaluation of the insurance industry’s application to engage in cartel behaviour – the so-called 20% cap proposals.

ASIC’s recommendations are basically a reiteration of the insurance industry’s submission –these were summarised in the urgent dealer bulletin we sent to members last week.

This is a disappointing interim outcome – it’s almost as if the key points made in our detailed submission were never taken into account, or if they were, they were discounted as irrelevant or inconsequential. A 20% cap is certainly not inconsequential for our members and we will continue to work with ASIC and ACCC to reinforce our position.

So… while we have been waiting and hoping for a more reasonable set of recommendations from ASIC it appears that – like Godot – the more reasonable version may never arrive.

That said, all is not lost just yet. The good news is that ACCC must now consider ASIC’s recommendations and evaluate them before making a draft determination in December 2016. We will have an opportunity to engage with the relevant officers over the December/January period before the draft is finalised. Under the leadership of our Board Director and former Chairman Ian Field, we have recently done further work on the APRA insurance data available publically. This work indicates that we have a number of important points to present to ACCC that appear not to have been fully considered in evaluating the insurance products under review.

ACCC plans to issue a final determination in February 2017.

As we pointed out in the urgent bulletin, it is incumbent upon all dealers to be proactive and engage with our insurance partners to discuss revised plans for 2017. Waiting until the final determination has no upside.

Godot may never arrive – but we can perhaps still hope for at least the arrival of some good news if we continue to frequently and convincingly advocate our point of view and to reiterate the important principle of fairness across all channels in any regulatory determination. We will of course keep you fully informed as matters progress.

As ever, I wish you…

Good Luck and Good Selling!

 

David Blackhall
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Automotive Dealer Association Ltd

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