One of the funniest movie scenes ever is the exchange between Pontius Pilate, Brian and the Centurion over Pilate’s Roman friend Biggus Dickus in the Monty Python film The Life of Brian. The reason this scene is so funny is that all the characters understand the absurdity of the name Biggus Dickus, except for Pilate. The joke is on Pilate for not recognising the ludicrousness of his friend’s name. Pilate is more than a Sillius Soddus.

The same is true with the Federal government’s proposed 'Big Stick' legislation. Every right-thinking person knows that laws that allow an Australian government to commandeer private assets, dictate commercial deals between firms and tell firms how to price their outputs will kill private investment. In a power system that is teetering because of lack of investment in reliable generation capacity, it is absurd to think things will get better by enacting Venezuelan-like State controls over business.

Frontier Economics prepared a submission for the Australian Energy Council which explores the Coalition’s proposed 'Big Stick' legislation and its implications. This legislation is currently before Parliament (and the electorate) as the Coalition’s solution to the power industry’s woes.

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