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Price gouging inquiry drags its heels

A plan to subpoena recalcitrant global IT companies in the parliamentary IT pricing inquiry seems to have slowed right down.

A plan to subpoena recalcitrant global IT companies in the parliamentary IT pricing inquiry seems to have slowed right down.

(2010_1310 - Coins_3 image by Ben Hosking, CC BY 2.0)

Six weeks ago, the Labor chairman and Coalition deputy chairman of the Australian IT pricing inquiry expressed frustration that global IT companies were refusing to cooperate and give public evidence.

Apple, for example, only gave evidence behind closed doors, while Adobe made a submission, only to state that it had not actually made a submission because it had helped with Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA)'s submission.

According to The Australian, the chairman of the inquiry, Nick Champion, hinted that the Parliament was ready to start issuing subpoenas, saying that the committee was faced with a decision "either to compel the attendance of individuals to give evidence, or to report without hearing in detail from industry". He went on to add that, "Now the ultimate sanction of this sort of thing is to invoke the committee's powers to subpoena people."

However, the inquiry now seems to have softened its stance, with Champion telling the newspaper that the committee was seeking cooperation rather than issuing demands. However, he did note that the subpoena option was still on the table. "I wouldn't say anything is on or off the table. The committee still has the power to subpoena if it chooses to use it."