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In the days of Perth’s Sunday Independent, a good letter to the editor was not only published, but also served as inspiration for a political cartoon. My open letter to the Consumer Affairs Bureau was published on May 30th, 1976. At that time I was operating a car dealership in Kalgoorlie.

From your letter of May 18 it would appear that you wish to take issue on the fact that on some unnamed advertisement, our motor vehicle dealer’s licence number was omitted.

Your comments indicate that we have committed a crime and yet you don’t identify any victim. We can’t accept that there has been a crime if there is no victim.

On the other hand, however, we contend that the public of West Australia is a victim of your department in two ways:

1) The high cost maintaining your department is borne by all taxpayers.

2) Your bureaucratic interference in the motor vehicle industry has added to the industry’s costs and naturally this is being passed on to consumers. The direct result has been less money to the consumer for their own cars and higher prices for the cars they buy.

No matter how well intentioned some of your personnel may be, you cannot alter the fact of life, that if a dealer is to be successful he must provide good service at acceptable prices. Without continued acceptance by his clientele he will disappear, irrespective of your department’s efforts.

We have discussed this matter with several State parliamentarians who appreciate that despite the disadvantages of your department to consumers generally, there is support from two directions:

a) The so-called Public Service Department with its natural Parkinsonian desire for growth at anybody’s expense but its own.

b) Some sectors of the trade who always find attraction in the fact that competition against them is reduced by your continued bureaucratic involvement.

Meanwhile, we hope you don’t mind, but we can’t take your department seriously and we intend preoccupying our attention with giving better service to our clients.

In closing we hope that our State, at some stage in the future, will move toward free-enterprise with a consequent improvement of the economy, making it possible for people in your department to obtain proper, productive jobs.

RB Manners
WG Manners & Co. Pty Ltd.

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