Regulation is a political activity. It sets the framework for the market economy by defining the boundaries between private action and government action. Yet those boundaries are not fixed. Australian governments are growing the body of regulation – and the resources dedicated to regulating – at an ever increasing pace.
This growth in regulation has more than just economic consequences. It has significant political implications, as regulatory agencies are increasing their power and influence. Furthermore, those agencies are animated by a new regulatory ideology which favours interventionism and ‘armtwisting’, adding to the powers of regulatory agencies.