There are more than 2.4 million small businesses in Australia which collectively employ around 7 million people. That is over half of the Australian workforce.
Small business is one of the greatest contributors to Commonwealth and State revenue. Yet, consecutive federal governments have made life harder and harder for Australian small business people.
The Council of Small Businesses Australia states that political parties and most bureaucrats “acknowledge the role played by small business in the economy but over the last twenty years they have not shown that they understand that a small business is different from big business and must have different policy responses and different process and rules.”
A look at the current make-up of our federal parliament is not very encouraging. In the House of Representatives, only a dozen out of the 150 members have experience in owning/operating a small business (5/71 ALP, 4/59 Liberals, 2/11 Nationals, 1/5 Independents).
The Senate is not much different. Out of 76 senators, such experience is only found in 7. One of them is a particular highlight – DLP Senator John Madigan stands out with over 25 years’ experience in operating a small business. And if this year’s DLP Victorian senate candidate Mark Farrell joins him, you can add an extra 16 years on top of that.
That would mean the DLP would be holding the balance of power in the Senate, with a combined total of over 41 years of experience in owning and operating a small business. Indeed, this would create refreshingly new dynamics to Australian politics.
The ALP government should be commended for establishing a Minister for Small Business portfolio, the first in a decade. Unfortunately, the Minister the Hon. Gary Gray has no experience in small business what-so-ever. Ludicrous? You betcha.
Looking to this year’s federal election, I must say that the prospects for small business aren’t great. The ALP aren’t offering anything new, the Liberals sound great but in reality are not convincing. The Greens don’t even have a small business policy. Don’t believe it? Take a look at their 2013 election website to see for yourself. The DLP have some really good ideas, but they need to gain the balance of power first.
Who’s going to be flying the flag for small business after this year’s federal election?