Treasurer Scott Morrison has declared Labor is waging a “war on business”, but the small business community says it wants to focus on the policy, not political point scoring.
The Coalition has not backed down from its rhetoric, despite the war analogy being labelled insensitive by the national president of the Vietnam Veterans Association, given it was made on the same day as a repatriation ceremony for Australians killed during the Vietnam War.
Turnbull has stood by his Treasurer’s comments, saying the first casualty of Bill Shorten’s “war on business” will be Australian jobs, according to the ABC.
The Liberals have been trumpeting their policy to eventually reduce the company tax rate to 25% for all businesses over the next 10 years.
However, Labor is also backing a 5% business tax cut, but only for companies turning over less than $2 million.
What do small business leaders think of Morrison’s comments?
Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business, says the word “war” is unhelpful in this instance.
“That’s political talk and there’s obviously an election on,” Strong says.
“I don’t think there’s a war. If there is a war, it’s between Labor and the Liberals and we [the the small business community] don’t want to be collateral damage in that.”
However, Strong points out Labor could be doing more for small businesses.
“The story they’re pushing on the tax breaks is the wrong story,” he says.
“Nobody is going to put money in their [own] pocket as a result of the [company] tax break. What happens is companies get a chance to reinvest into growth opportunities. That’s why we think they should support the tax breaks, and Bill Shorten should certainly support the lifting of the threshold to $10 million.”
Australian Small business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell also shied away from using the word “war”, however, did point out the small businesses she’s spoken to would like Labor to lift the $2 million threshold for both tax purposes and the instant asset write-off scheme if Bill Shorten and his party do form government after July 2.
“We think it would be very good if the Labor party would take a look at that,” Carnell told SmartCompany.
“It’s something small to medium business really needs.”