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Skirting the Regulations

by Visiting Research Fellow Darryl Gobbett in Conversation with SACES

If you missed the first episode of our Doctor Who series last week….some background.

Doctor Who has been travelling through space and time for more than half a century since the start of the BBC television series of the same name in 1963. The much-loved Time Lord has had many guises, most recently played by Jodie Whittaker.

The Doctor has seen a lot of social and economic change as he/she has time-travelled in the trusty Tardis, a space-craft resembling a Police phone box. So, The Doctor is now well-placed to make pertinent and perceptive judgments on many current issues, including the laws and regulations that are confronting business and constraining the local economy.

The Doctor has been accompanied recently by a fellow called Paul, who carries the same name as three winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics, Paul Samuelson, Paul Krugman and Paul Romer, and arguably Australia’s finest Federal Treasurer, Paul Keating.

Every now and then, The Doctor and Paul drop in to see Bruce, a long-time observer of South Australia’s politics and economy who struggles to make sense of the vagaries of the State’s rules and regulations.

The Doctor will appear on the SACES blog in coming weeks as we take a light-hearted but incisive look at the policies and politics of the past fifty years. So, sit back and enjoy the ride, and feel free to join the conversation with comments on the blog.

Episode #2

Home in Adelaide, late 1960s.

Telephone rings.

Belinda answers telephone.

“Bruce, it’s Paul. He says The Doctor is calling into Earth again and can drop him off. Can he come over for a BBQ Monday? What should he bring?”

Bruce: “OK. I’ll come to the phone. Paul, how’s the travel?

You will need to bring some fresh meat and bread as it’s after midday Saturday here now and a public holiday on Monday. The butcher shops have closed for the weekend and the grocery stores can only stock frozen fresh meat. Only the small ones will be open in any case.

The bakers will stop baking tonight and so there won’t be any fresh bread until Tuesday.

No, we don’t have any small bakeries open on the weekends. I don’t know which galaxy you think we’re in.

By the way, the State Government is still not allowing petrol sales in the metropolitan area on weekends after midday Saturday.

Yes, if you could get The Doctor to call in to Mt Barker to get some fresh meat and bread. It’s outside the Adelaide Metropolitan Area.

How’s The Doctor’s beer selection? We’ve still really only got West End and Southwark. While the pubs are no longer tied to the brewery, the bottle shops are still mainly in and owned by the hotels.

No, the breweries in each state still seem to have the gentlemen’s agreement not to compete across state borders.  Forget about any overseas beer with the import duties and shipping. And even Coopers Sparkling isn’t that easy to find in most hotels.

What? The Doctor is now a woman? But you say she has a taste for the Iced Coffee flavoured milk you left in the fridge from last time you were here.

Well, warn her that SA, like the other States, prohibits bringing milk or milk products like cheese in from the other states or from overseas.

Same goes for margarine. SA sets quotas on how much can be made and it can’t be coloured to look like butter.

How’s Aunt Mable? Well, we can talk about her when you get here. She still has too many hens and too many run-ins with the Egg and Dairy and Potato Boards’ inspectors. Her ideas on how markets should operate are driving Uncle Bert Kelly and Mavis spare. Every time he gets up to talk in Canberra about protectionism, Black Jack McEwen jumps up and down about how many inspectors Mable is keeping occupied.

See you Monday.”

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