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Back to business: What the Coalition’s election win means for Australian startups

Denham Sadler /

A week after Australians went to the polls, Malcolm Turnbull has finally claimed an election win for the Coalition, with the startup community now hoping for a renewed focus on innovation and some much-needed stability.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten rang Turnbull on Sunday to concede defeat, putting to rest many in the startup world’s fears of a hung parliament.

The Coalition is set to win at least the 76 seats necessary to form a majority government.

A return to stability

MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan says this will hopefully bring some stability back for Australian startups following nearly three months of caretaker government.

“It’s great to finally get an outcome,” Stoyan says.

“Now Team Turnbull can get on with governing the country and startups can get on with building great businesses.”

But Stoyan says the small majority and diverse Senate will make things tough for the national ecosystem.

“The startup community’s biggest concern is that we may see innovation reprioritised as the government makes concessions in order to meet the needs of special interest groups,” he says.

“With such a varied range of parties likely to be elected into the Senate there is a very real risk the government will be forced to pander to these special interest groups rather than focusing on growing the economy.”

Brosa co-founder Ivan Lim agrees, saying that no matter what you think of Turnbull’s time as Prime Minister, actually getting a result is a positive.

“I think the news is good because as a country and as a tech startup community we can move forward instead of the holding pattern of the last two weeks,” Lim says.

“Some of the changes put forward by the Turnbull government have shown promise so now it’s a chance to prove that the Australia people were right to give them the opportunity to lead. Time will tell but at least for now the country can move forward.”

Turning rhetoric into reality

With a mandate for his pre-election priorities, now is the time for Turnbull to deliver on his various promises to the startup community, Kikka Capital CEO David Brennan says.

“The result finally gives some clarity to the Australian public on the state of the government and the direction we are header,” Brennan says.

“The certainty is helpful – we now know who’s going to lead the country and we know what their views are. Turnbull’s ideas were great, now i the time in which tehy need to turn into reality.”

While startup and innovation-focused policies were a key facet of Turnbull’s rise to power last year, they quickly disappeared from the Coalition’s campaign, and startup investor and advisor Nicole Williamson says it’s important for the startup community to make sure this stays a national interest.

“The Turnbull government has challenging times ahead. Both the Coalition and Labor support innovation and startups but it’s clear from the results that this was not a priority issue in the broader community,” Williamson says.

“Let’s hope we can maintain the enthusiasm of the major parties and ensure the community sees and shares in the benefits of technology and change – that’s our challenge in the tech industry to make that case to all Australians.”

But Schedugram founder Hugh Stephens says getting out of the national spotlight could be a positive for Australian startups in the long-term.

“Fewer distractions of policy events and grant schemes that never quite eventuate means we can spend more time working on our businesses,” Stephens says.

“The election result raises a big question for startups: How much should we put our eggs into one basket and follow the hype of either party’s announcements?

“It’ll be interesting to see whether the Coalition will put the policy and money where its mouth is during this second term.”

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Denham Sadler

Denham Sadler is a former editor of StartupSmart. He was previously a journalist at the publication and has worked as a freelancer for the Guardian, the Saturday Paper and the ABC. In his spare time he likes puns and jaffles.

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