In 1999 a push to allow businesses to extend their trading hours was making front page news at The Examiner.
After a push from the business community the state government announced it would commission a panel headed by KPMG to examine the issue.
Deputy Premier Paul Lennon said the review was required under national competition policy.
"I recognise the emotive nature of some of the issues resulting from current regulation, and am awaiting with interest the outcome of this independent review," he said.
Woolworths-owned Purity and Roelf Vos spokesman Michael Kent said retail customers deserved the right to choose when and where they shop. He said the government had no place telling people when they could shop.
Journalist Barry Prismall wrote that the state liberals, who were traditionally the allies of business, were likely to disown the push for deregulation.
Liberal leader Sue Napier, who tried to implement open slather trading hours, said that there was no evidence of the community interest being served by total deregulation.
Both major parties had agreed to extend a moratorium on total deregulation, originally in place until 2000, to 2002.
Mr Lennon said the government would stick to its 1998 pre-election promise to not completely deregulate trading hours until at least 2002.
Mrs Napier said the Liberal party would not support Sunday trading for major retail stores.
"A free enterprise party looks to see if the opportunities for the retail industry are fair and you only change the law if it is in the community interest to do so, and we see no evidence of that," Mrs Napier said.
She said there would be no point in deregulation unless there was a major turn-around in Tasmania's declining population trends.
"We have a high proportion of people, 37 per cent I believe, dependent on the retail sector, and a lot of those are marginal so we would have to look at the impact of deregulation," Mrs Napier said.
Big retail chains were leading the push for deregulation with Coles-Myer joining the push lead by Mr Kent, who said a lobbying campaign would begin in 2000.
"We are asking to open when the customer wants. At this point in time it would not mean 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said.