Racist attitudes being pushed by the Federal Government can only spell bad news for small and medium businesses.
Small and medium businesses beware: the race card being waged by the Coalition is having a terrible and possibly long-lasting affect.
In more than 80% of recent focus groups that I ran recently in Sydney and Melbourne, there was a massive reaction to the theme of foreigners taking over our schools and jobs and a prediction of more outright racism by 2010.
I have been doing these focus groups for more than 30 years and it is the first time that people have been overtly racist. In fact I was shocked at how racist people have become and that they feel they can express their thoughts so openly.
They did not like foreign doctors, they don’t like foreigners coming in and taking their jobs. And the Lebanese, Italian and Greeks violently oppose the African and Asian migration.
Two things that seem to be triggering this violent reaction: the Government’s industrial relations changes and HECS.
There is a feeling that kids cannot get ahead, don’t have options, are saddled with huge debt from their education, that they cannot get first homes and foreigners are taking their jobs.
This is being fuelled by a Federal Government campaign that is trying to stir up the race vote in local communities.
What does this mean for entrepreneurs? It means there is a major push for protectionism which could eventually close down Australia so we become a conservative middle American state.
As the Australian dollar keeps rising towards parity with the US dollar, it will be harder to export. But neighboring countries will look elsewhere for goods and services if we are perceived as a racist country.
We have to fight the growing tide of racism and push hard for an international outlook that is tolerant and progressive.
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