Can someone get a senate up in here? Or at least proportional representation? Because the fun house that is Queensland unicameral government has done it again, passing a private member’s bill introduced by The Katter Party that gives transport inspectors greater scope to go after illegal taxi companies. And when they say “illegal taxi companies” they really mean Uber.
The bill was introduced into state parliament yesterday and promptly passed with the support of the opposition. The leader of the Katter Party, Bob Katter, accused Uber of damaging the taxi industry. "That's why they're a $60 billion company worldwide. A lot of people have been soft targets, I hope we won't be in Queensland," he said.
The legislation increases the maximum fine to $2,356 for drivers, and $23,560 for operators (i.e. Uber itself). Why? Because according to Katter, Uber is not in the national interest. Which means once and for all, national interest doesn’t equal consumer interest, seeing as Uber is an immensely popular alternative to the taxi monopoly (sorry, “soft target”) that exists in Queensland.
Uber has taken the news with a sense of humour, introducing a Katter mode into the app for customers in Queensland, alongside UberX and UberSELECT. How many cars are available in Katter mode? None.