An ACT watchdog's decision to knock back Dick Smith's $20,000 giveaway in the capital reinforces the stereotype that the ACT is the ''nanny state'', the ACT Liberals say.
Liberals' Deputy Leader Brendan Smyth has called on the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission to let the Australian businessman conduct his giveaway in Canberra.
Mr Smith was expected to stop by various suburbs in the territory yesterday during his six-month-long cash giveaway, aimed at promoting Australian farmers.
Though the giveaway has been approved by all states in Australia, the commission said the giveaway was not allowed in the ACT.
Locals took to the internet yesterday to reject the commission's decision, with some threatening to lodge discrimination complaints against the commission.
''Government gone mad - again,'' one person said.
Another said: ''What a joke Canberra is becoming. I fear for my home town. And politicians wonder why all the 'Canberra bashing'.''
Mr Smyth said the commission needed to rectify a wrong.
''I've never heard anything so stupid in my entire life,'' he said of the commission's decision to ban the giveaway in the territory.
''This is what allows the other jurisdictions in Australia to laugh at us, to mock us that we're the nanny state … dull and boring.''
The commission's chief executive was on leave and unavailable for comment yesterday. Its chairman was also unavailable yesterday.
A spokesman from the organisation said, ''we assess all applications for trade promotions and if they don't meet the legislative requirements we give the applicants every opportunity to revise their conditions in order to comply. If they don't want to make amendments based on the information provided we need to make a decision … in this case the application was refused.''
Mr Smith told a Senate inquiry in Canberra into the food-processing sector yesterday that foreign retail giants Aldi and Costco were pushing local producers out of business with ''capitalist'' business models.
Mr Smith said competition pressure from foreign-owned stores makes it harder for local producers to sell to Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths. with AAP