Bruce Billson is no longer Australia’s small business minister after being dropped from the position over the weekend in favour of fellow Victorian MP Kelly O’Dwyer.
O’Dwyer will also take on the role of assistant treasurer, with Billson returning to life as a backbencher.
Billson is a strong advocate for the introduction of an effects test into Australian Competition Law, despite hesitations from big business and some of his cabinet colleagues.
The former small business minister said in a statement he had hoped to remain the minister for small business in order to continue to work on the government’s response to the Harper competition review.
“My admiration and deep affection for the enterprising men and women of Australia and my passion for the ground-breaking policy work and initiatives we have pursued in the partnership remain undiminished,” Billson said.
“I will reflect on the next stage of my political career with my family and support network. I look forward to continuing to represent the wonderful Dunkley community with all of my energy and experience in the period ahead.”
Here are five of SmartCompany’s favourite quotes from Billson’s time as small business minister.
1. “Was that an aircraft or the roar of small business saying, thank goodness!”
While selling the government’s 2015 budget, Billson’s press conference was interrupted by a low-flying airplane.
Billson joked that the sound drowning out his answers was the roar of small business happy about the government’s generous tax incentives.
2. “Mornington, the Riviera of Melbourne…”
If you listen to Billson long enough, you’ll almost certainly hear him make a joke about his electorate – which encompasses the bayside suburbs of Frankston and Mornington.
This can often go over the heads of those not from Melbourne who are not aware of the somewhat tenuous connection between the region and the swanky French coastal region.
Billson has also poked fun at Melbourne’s weather, claiming that on a cold winter’s day in his electorate you can “get a natural exfoliation just by walking outside”.
3. “Even my blood group is positive!”
Labor rarely asked Billson questions during parliamentary question time, however when they did, the former small business minister was always quick to mention how excited he was by entrepreneurship and innovation.
4. “Small business is the new black, the new kale of the café scene, the yogalates.”
Billson addressed the National Press Club back in May in order to explain in greater detail the government’s $5.5 billion small business package.
After the budget was handed down, it seemed everyone was talking about small business, at least according to Billson
5. “I had the spunkiest business plan.”
Billson often talks about his time as a small business owner before entering politics.
In fact, Billson’s time as a small business owner has greatly influenced his approach to policy and could be one reason why he stands at odds with some of his colleagues over issues such as the effects test.
But did you know Billson’s former business was called Beauty and the Beach, according to Fairfax.
Why is this not a surprise?
Share your favourite Bruceisms below. Are there some we have missed?