There’s not a drop of doubt that small business is underrepresented in Australia, as highlighted in the previous small business post. With the Federal election near at hand, let’s take a look at some of the small business policy platforms being proposed by some of the main political parties.
Australian Labor Party (ALP)
The ALP website highlights what the party has already done for small business, but nothing new is being proposed. It gives mention to the following:
- the establishment of a Minister for Small Business (Unfortunately, the Minister the Hon. Gary Gray has no experience in small business what-so-ever)
- the establishment of Enterprise Connect
- certain financial entitlements
With nothing new being proposed, one can’t help but wonder how the current situation for small business could be improved if the ALP retains government.
Interestingly, the ALP has no separate ‘small business’ policy, but places it into an ‘Australian Business’ page on their website, together with big business plans like the NBN and Tourism 2020. It begs the question: does the ALP really understand how small business is different to big business?
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberals are proposing a lot of changes for small business, and these can be found in their policy document Our Plan: real solutions for all Australians. The Liberal Party’s policy is intended to:
- lowering taxes and business costs
- cutting red and green tape
- double the annual rate of small business growth
- relieving competition laws and policy
- extending unfair contract protection to small business
Cutting bureaucratic tape and conducting a review of competition laws would be greatly welcomed by small business. However, there are some pretty big ‘ifs’ with the other policies.
The Liberals’ plan for lowering taxes and cutting business costs hinge on their intention of abolishing the carbon tax and funding from savings in the budget.
Will the next parliament pass legislation to abolish the carbon tax? Will there be a slice of the pie for small business made from savings in budget cuts, when the Liberals are desperate to deliver a budget surplus? These are arguments for another day; for now I’ll leave it for you to decide.
And doubling small business growth by adding more than 30,000 new small businesses every year? If they have a master plan, you’d think we’d know of it by now.
The Greens don’t have a small business policy. Don’t believe it? Take a look at their 2013 election website to see for yourself.
Democratic Labour Party (DLP)
The DLP are likely to hold the ‘balance of power’ in the Senate following this year’s federal election, so let’s see what this resurgent party has to say on small business. Their policies seek to stop big business making life hard for small business, increase cash flow, cut back bureaucratic tape and make it easier to get a new small business up and running. The policies are:
- stopping big businesses’ and government’s unfair practice of lengthy delays on payments for goods and services provided by small business by introducing a maximum of 30 days standard trade for such payments;
- deferring small business company tax for one year for the first seven years followed by a generous catch up period;
- having superannuation and WorkCover costs covered by Federal Government for the first year of a small business employing its first full-time employee, covering a wage of up to $48,000 per annum;
- establishing local small business mentoring programs comprised of both retired and current small business owners;
- opposing undue and excessive Federal and State Government and local council bureaucracy for small business operators.
It is worth mentioning that not only does DLP Senator John Madigan have over 25 years of small business experience under his belt, but 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.
Voting for a minor party might prove a lot more effective than some may think.
By Vince Stefano