The Federal government has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate Santa Claus for anti-competitive business practices.
The request comes after intense lobbying from supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles. The companies allege Santa Claus has an unfair monopoly over Christmas gift-giving and should be restricted to no more than 49% of market share in Australia.
“The ACCC investigation isn’t about picking on Santa at Christmas time,” said Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane. “It’s about protecting Australian companies from unfair business practices from the Northern Hemisphere.”
Mr McFarlane conceded that the ACCC may take up to a year to finalise its investigation, with the first question to be resolved being whether Santa Claus actually exists.
Despite the likely delay, Woolworths and Coles have already sought for Federal government approval to build large toy distribution centres at the deep water port at Abbot Point in North Queensland. Both companies have promised that any environmental impact on the nearby Great Barrier Reef will be “even less” than that of the coal facilities recently approved by the Abbott government.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has attacked the moves and has questioned whether the investigation into Santa Claus at his busiest time of year is politically motivated.
“It is no secret that Santa Claus operates one of the most productive, and highly unionised, workforces in the world. I have two big fears about this investigation. First, that it is an attack on traditional Labor values. And, second, that we might all have to wait till Easter to get our Christmas presents.”