To whom it may concern: A letter to the small business minister

taskmasterLast week, Old Taskmaster suggested it was time to write to a few pollies ahead of the next election.


Well, over the weekend, I decided to pull out a pad of paper and a pen in order to write a couple of letters and express some concerns. Mostly about regulatory red tape and taxes. In the background, an old transistor radio played the classic Queen song Another one bites the dust.


I sealed the first envelope and addressed it to the shadow small business minister, Bruce Billson.


Then it was time to write the second letter. But, in a moment of forgetfulness, Old Taskmaster had a mental blank when it came to the name of the current small business minister. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact the government has managed to burn through four small business ministers in the space of just 14 months.


“Dear Mr Craig Emerson…” No wait, he’s gone. “Dear Mr Nick Sherry…” Nope, he’s gone too. “Dear Mr Mark Arbib…” Wait, he’s gone as well!


Finally, I remembered the right answer. “Dear Mr Brendan O’Connor”. The letter was sealed and ready to go.


Just as Old Taskmaster was about to walk out the door carrying the letters, a teary Nicola Roxon appeared on the tellie at a press conference in Canberra. At that exact same moment, the radio mockingly played Freddie Mercury singing “…and another one’s gone, and another one’s gone, and another one bites the dust!”


Meanwhile, the news ticker at the bottom of the screen read: “Chris Bowen appointed small business minister in cabinet reshuffle”. Apparently four small business ministers weren’t enough. Now there’s a fifth!


Given how important start-ups, sole traders, independent contractors, work-at-home parents, franchisees and small businesses are, the role of small business minister should be a senior position in the cabinet – the kind politicians cut factional deals to stay in control of. In recent times, however, the situation has been quite different. And if the opinion polls are to be believed, we’ll probably end up with yet another small business minister by the end of the year.


The moral of the story is clear. If you’re writing to the government, be sure to address the letter to “the minister for small business” and “to whom it may concern”. Sure, it’s less personal than addressing the minister by name, but then again you know the letter will end up with the right person the next time there’s a reshuffle.


Get it done – today!


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