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Do online shop staff do online shopping while at work in their online shopping warehouse? Jakub Kaczmarczyk/EPA

Shopping online at work? Feel free to blame your boss

On Friday we witnessed images reminiscent of the London Riots from a few years ago. People with a crazed look in their eyes descended on shopping malls to plunder their contents. They fought with others…
The draft report of the Competition Policy Review elevates consumer choice above all other considerations. www.shutterstock.com

Harper review would reduce us from citizens to mere consumers

Are we consumers or are we citizens? Clearly most of us are both. In a capitalist economy people get much of what they need through competitive markets. Yet we also live within a society and have reasonable…
We need to look past the colours, pictures and cleverly crafted claims. Art Allianz/Shutterstock

Fat free and 100% natural: seven food labelling tricks exposed

If you’re confused by food labels, you’re not alone. But don’t hold your breath for an at-a-glance food labelling system that tells you how much salt, fat and sugar each product contains. Australia’s proposed…
Should you eat this? The new snapshot of Australian fish stocks is unlikely to help you decide. avlxyz/flickr

Do assessments of fish stock sustainability work for consumers?

The report, Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks 2012 is the first official report combining assessments of major Commonwealth and state-managed fisheries into one document. The report paints a rosy picture…
Queue for iPad 2 in Sydney: green activists targeting companies and governments should realise that those ‘enemies’ reflect the values of the money and consumption-hungry populace. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Why the global environmental movement is failing

The recent news out of the RIO+20 summit is dire. No collective pre-agreement, no institutional change, no investment. The difference between RIO+20 and Kyoto was that at least Kyoto created an agreement…
Carbon double-take: shoppers will turn to eco-friendly groceries, mainly when they’re cheap. Flickr/Bruce A Stockwell

Do carbon labels change shopping behaviour?

If everyday items were labelled according to the carbon emissions embodied in them, would shoppers change what they buy? And if they did, would it make a difference in the grand scheme of things? Voluntary…
The claim of “free to roam” is being challenged by the consumer regulator.

Impressions count when it comes to misleading consumers

Christmas is coming, which means consumers are out looking for great deals to fill stockings and feed the family. And for retailers and manufacturers, the temptation to add “spin” to their marketing is…
Well-intentioned credit protection regulations could make it hard for some people to secure loans. AAP

Responsible lending doesn’t have to be restrictive

The Federal Government has taken significant steps in recent years to protect consumers from predatory lending practices, such as very high-interest “payday loans”. An unfortunate, though surely unintentional…
Price-gouging might occur under the carbon tax regime, but market discipline will keep it in check. Flickr/dmcneil

Trust the market – why regulation won’t stop carbon tax gouging

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has announced that the government will provide the competition watchdog with almost $13 million in extra funding to tackle carbon tax-related price-gouging. In this context…
There are a lot of natural things you wouldn’t want to eat. Timothy Valentine/Flickr

Greenwashing: can you trust that label?

Producers and retailers of everything from toilet paper to homes want you to believe that their product is “green”. More are “greenwashing” their products. Greenwashing is the misleading claims of environmental…
Most families with at least one child say they are ‘comfortable’ with their finances at just under $80,000, according to latest figures from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Flickr, Meredith Farkas.

Just under $80,000 a year is enough, say most families

Most families say they would feel comfortable living on an annual household income of just under $80,000 according to new…

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