Scratch the hype and you’ll uncover some real issues

Why is John Howard trying to get elected by banging on about IR when he should be talking about how to start businesses and remove barriers to growth?


If you read the papers or listen to Parliament, you might be lead to believe that the public is vitally interested in industrial relations.


The Murdoch and Packer empires are obsessed with the huge wage bills of their journalists and want to get their costs lower while keeping unions out. (Interesting that the journalists are so obliging.)


The papers also serve the interests of big business that provide the advertisements that maintain the mainstream press.


But research shows most people list IR way down the list of their concerns. Most people are vitally interested in increasing sales and marketing opportunities and finding ways to increase control over day-to-day life at home and in business activities.


So why is John Howard trying to get elected by banging on about IR when he should be talking about how to start businesses and remove barriers to growth? Government policy is aimed at keeping businesses small. If they were serious about growth, for a start they would remove payroll tax.


Therese Rein showed that she could grow a global business using collective agreements – not AWAs.


She also showed that her businesses, which she grew from cash flow, is strong enough to withstand its domestic home being sold off. Need more revenue? Easy. Look to other governments like Britain that actually help small business.


There are 1.96 million actively trading businesses, new ABS figures show. Less than 1% employ more than 200 workers. The vast army of these small business owners are dependent upon self-financing and friends and family, and looking for ways to get a small amount of government business to maintain their cash flow.


Most small-business owners want more support in expanding their local operations and access to state and local government contracts of less than $100,000. They avoid hiring any additional employees that would take them over the threshold of payroll tax and an invitation to the tax office to hound them with tax audits.


Entrepreneurs and small business owners with less than a dozen employees are more interested in the way that Therese will go about selling her successful business and finding ways to emulate her offshore expansion to be bothered with the big end of town’s focus on unions, labour lawyers and the self-serving interests of media owners.


Dr Colin Benjamin is chairman of the independent Melbourne think-tank Marshall Place Associates and director-general of Life. Be in it International. Colin has a professional doctorate in business administration at the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship and is widely known in marketing circles as the author of the Roy Morgan Values Segments.



To read more Colin Benjamin blogs, click here.




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