An equal number of senators voted in favour and against the motion to read the bills for a second time,(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) which means that it was unsuccessful and that the bills will not be considered any further.
Background to the bills
This National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008 was introduced along with the National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008 to establish a National Fuelwatch Scheme, which would be created and administered by by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).(Read more about the Scheme on ABC News here. ) The National Fuelwatch Scheme would require petrol retailers "to notify the ACCC of their next day’s fuel prices by 2 pm each day and maintain this notified price for a 24-hour period from 6 am the next day".(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here. )
The National Fuelwatch Scheme was proposed in response to an ACCC inquiry into the price of unleaded petrol, which found that:
- there is an imbalance in fuel pricing information between petrol retailers and consumers at the retail level; and
- consumers' capacity to take advantage of the lowest prices is limited by intraday fuel price changes (sometimes as often as three or four times per day).(Read more about the ACCC's inquiry in the explanatory memorandum.)