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Which newcomers to Parliament have small business experience? Five new MPs and their business skills revealed

Patrick Stafford /

This election has been focused on small business more than ever before.

Not only has the Coalition government promised waves of reforms and concessions, but as it turns out, newcomers to the Parliament have quite a bit of experience in managing their own companies.

We all know Clive Palmer has his various interests – which he says he may not even give up when he comes to Canberra – but business voters will be glad to know at least some members have experience in running their own entity.

And they’re going to need it. The Coalition has already said it wants people with business experience on various boards, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and even Fair Work.

Treasurer-elect Joe Hockey has even shown signs he may be calling in private consultation for the Treasury very soon.

So it’s good to know, at least for now, that there are some new entrants to Parliament with some small business experience – but you probably don’t know who they are. So here’s a handy guide:

Kevin Hogan

The Nationals MP has won the seat of Page for the Nationals this year, ousting Labor. But Hogan actually has an extensive business background – he’s a cattle farmer and operates a small business, according to his official profile.

To top it all off – Hogan is a registered nurse, and taught business studies at St Mary’s High School in Casino.

David Leyonhjelm

The Liberal Democrat – and newly sworn-in senator – has attracted negative attention over the past few days, but he has several policies that will make businesses happy: Leyonhjelm wants the company tax rate at 20%, and wants to get rid of parental leave.

But Leyonhjelm is also a business owner, having operated an agricultural consultancy firm for over two decades. His experience likely plays a huge part in his desire to get rid of red tape.

Bob Day

Bob Day sits alongside Clive Palmer as a fresh MP who essentially bankrolled himself into Parliament – Day funded Family First with loans back in 2011.

But he’s had more experience than just in the political world. Day is an experienced businessman, having operated the residential development group Homestead Homes for several years – and even served as the president of the Housing Industry Association.

Fiona Scott

It’s a shame Fiona Scott was reduced to being told she had “sex appeal” by Tony Abbott, because her history reveals a wide range of experience. Scott grew up in a family operating a small business, and even received a Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney.

According to her official profile, Scott continues to own a business, and even completed an MBA, joining the ranks of Parliamentary newcomers who know a thing or two about running a company.

Mal Brough

Technically not a newcomer, Mal Brough has taken back his seat in Parliament after losing it back in 2010. The MP has business experience both inside and outside of Canberra, having operated a wholesale company back in the early 1990s, while during the Howard era he served as Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business in 2000-01.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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