House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Matters of Public Importance


3:37 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I withdraw that word. The impact of Labor's increased taxes on small business is a testimony to this government's anti-small-business agenda and this regime's four-year shameful history of waste, incompetence and deception. When we go back to 2007, when Labor first came to power, they offered so many promises about assisting small business. But, four years later, let us have a look at the results of their unprecedented attack on the small business sector.

Under this Labor regime, 300,000 small business jobs have been lost and Labor's policies have also resulted in more than 20,000 fewer small businesses now contributing to our economy. Twenty thousand have disappeared. What an appalling and shameful record! As for this government, this Prime Minister and this Treasurer, the only successful policy they seem to have in the small business sector is making small business smaller. What an absolute disgrace! Yesterday we had the Prime Minister and this government pretending to be friends of small business. What a sham! We even had the Treasurer quoting Menzies, reminding the House that it is the Liberal Party that is the party that stands for the strivers, the planners and the ambitious small businesses. Yesterday, we had more quotes of Menzies from the Treasurer—and I just hope he will do more of these, because he would do well to learn from one of the greatest leaders in our country's history. I wonder what quotes a future Treasurer might recall of this Prime Minister 40 years from now. Perhaps it will be, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government that I lead', or maybe even better, 'The Labor Party is the party of truth-telling.' They will be the butt of jokes.

This government, a government where small business does not even have a voice at the cabinet table, will long be remembered for their policies, which have already destroyed 300,000 small business jobs and destroyed the hopes and dreams of over 20,000 small businesses. But, while this is their shameful record to date, what is the rest of the small business community experiencing currently—the ones that have survived? Just have a look at the most recent Sensis small business survey. It shows the profitability of the small business sector has hit an incredible 18-year low—that's right, an 18-year low. And the report records that small business confidence has collapsed to just 15 per cent, one of the worst results in the report's history. Growth in small business capital expenditure has fallen again sharply, to the lowest levels ever recorded by the index, and the proportion of small businesses exporting has also fallen. And there has been an almost 50 per cent increase in the numbers of small business owners that intend to either sell or close their business. They have seen the writing on the wall under this government. They simply want to get out while they can with a shirt on their back.

We also have the latest ACCI small business survey, which has found that small business trading conditions and confidence have continued to collapse under this government and their policies with all indicators—including expected economic performance, sales revenue, employment and investment in plant and equipment—in substantial decline for the small business.

These are the sobering facts, and this is exactly the feedback that I am getting from 11,258 small businesses located in my electorate of Hughes, 97 per cent of which are truly small, family-owned businesses. The many small businesses I talk to are telling me that business conditions under this Labor government are the worst in living memory. That is the shameful record of this government to date. But the future only gets worse.

Back in 2007, the so-called 'party of truth-telling' promised that a Labor government would ease the regulatory burden on small business, and the member for Griffith stated that this was 'eating away at the entrepreneurial spirit' of the nation. But what is the record four years later? After piling new tax upon new tax and new regulation upon new regulation, a recent World Bank analysis of small business regulation has shown that Australia has gone backwards on almost every measure, with the exception of one category, the category of dealing with construction permits. We are now ranked a lowly 42nd. Who is above us? We are actually one place behind Greece, which came in 41st.

Then we have small business carrying the burden of this government's reckless spending and putting upward pressure on interest rates. We have had the Treasurer farcically standing on the floor of this parliament talking about 'fiscal discipline'. This is the same Treasurer that has turned a $40 billion net surplus into a $100 billion-plus net deficit, which is only putting upward pressure on interest rates. It is the small business sector that carries the burden more than any other sector because of these increased interest rates. It has now been weeks since the Reserve Bank dropped interest rates by 0.25 per cent, but many small businesses out there today are still waiting for that cut to be passed on to them. That is where small business stands today under this Labor government.

And what of the future? Until the rotting carcass of this deceptive, dysfunctional and directionless government is finally dispatched to the annals of history by the voters, small business will continue to suffer. This shameful track record that I have noted comes even before small business is smashed by the insanity of the world's biggest carbon tax, a tax that the Prime Minister and Treasurer of this country promised solemnly they would not introduce. This tax is built on deception upon deception. Not being satisfied with the deception of the Prime Minister telling small business that there would be no tax under the government that she leads, the deception has continued with the latest falsehood from the government with their claim that 'small business will not be required to pay a carbon price'. But this Labor-Greens carbon tax will simply cascade through the supply chain, compounding at each stage and leaving Australia's two million small businesses and family enterprises to foot the bill with higher costs. Many small businesses already suffering the worst trading conditions in living memory have little capacity to absorb these increases. They will be caught in a vice, squeezed between spiralling costs on one hand and caught with their customers having less money in their pockets to spend on the other, all the while dark economic clouds gathering on the international horizon. This is a recipe for disaster.

Then we have the government's plan to use the ACCC storm-troopers to silence small business by threatening to go after any small business that dares inform consumers about price increases due to the carbon tax. The threat of using the ACCC as an attack dog to prosecute small business owners who dare talk about the carbon tax is a disgrace. Small businesses face increases in electricity and will be forced to put many prices up where they can, yet they have a government that has misled them about this tax, has misled them about the effects of this tax and that is now threatening to prosecute small businesses for misleading and deceptive conduct if they merely talk about the tax.

Mr Deputy Speaker, you would think that the party that claims to be the party of truth telling would be telling the whole truth because silence by leaving out a material fact to create a false impression is nothing other than a deception. What we saw yesterday and last night during the debate on the mining tax was nothing other than a deception and a falsehood.


Antony (Tony) Amos
Posted on 24 Nov 2011 12:19 pm

It is encouraging to know that Craig Kelly is absolutely "Spot On" in what he had to say about the state of small business and the carbon tax debarkle.
Having been an Agricultural Machinery manufacturer and Dealer for 26 years starting with nothing and growing the enterprise to a peek of $6.4 M turnover with 32 employees to collapsing under the impost of the prolonged drought and losing everything including my home. For the last 4 years I have studied in depth the issue of carbon sequestration, carbon sinks, the generation of CERs or whatever form they may be named, carbon trading on the world carbon exchange etc. and am horrified at the case this Government has put up to get it as far as they have, with respect, deception on a grand scale, and a nightmare for its ongoing affect on costs and administration.
The whole concept of Australia's contribution to reducung CO2 emissions is flawed and the model bywhich the Government has based some of their belief is prefaced with "We think, we believe,we think", it is understandable that there is no way of being sufficiently certain to make the move to a carbon tax .
This tax will be the last straw that will break the camel's back; not only for our important small businesses but for all Australian families, many of whom are at financial breaking point now, without having to work their way through escalating power prices and the flow-on effect of increased costs that will come as a result of the many new taxes including that of the price on carbon.
It will be a lot easier for a Government to increase the price on carbon in time to come than it would be to increase the GST.
A tax on CO2 emmissions (if it is to be)is right out of step without an Emmissions Trading Scheme, now, not in 3 years time, I assume emmitters will have to buy certificates from the Government? without these certificates being backed by genuine carbon credits derived from registered carbon sinks, what a money grab without any need to work with CO2/carbon capture.
Regretably I see very dark days ahead for all but a few Australians. The need for more to adopt the understanding of our current very intenuous position as outlined in Craig Kelly's presentation to the House is urgent.

Chris Edwards
Posted on 25 Nov 2011 11:19 am


It's YOUR family. If your reading this, you have the DUTY to stand up against this most broken system. And If you want to know why.... Spend some time with a search engine, with terms like, "oil crisis", "peak oil/gas predictions", "arctic death spiral", "Economic crisis". This is just another example... another SYMPTOM, of a system that could allow such things to even exist. For those that still think this 'carbon tax', is anything but a carefully constructed, political piece of distraction, you need to go back, and search those things I just mentioned again. I don't blame Mr Kelly, Prime Minister Gillard, or any single person or group, I blame the entire sordid system. Like a house of cards, unless some REAL changes are made... the whole shebang will come crashing down... here I'll even save some time for those that can't be bothered researching.... this video should answer all questions....

I don't agree with their answer.... but it does make this carbon tax, seem, a little inadequate. If my house is on fire, don't tell me it will all be o.k., because you have a shot glass of water. Especially when your pouring petrol by the litre on the bloody thing.

For those that would ask what 'we' want. I can't respond for others.... but here is a suggestion:


and all three are RIGHT NOW very close to danger.

it's YOUR choice.

Maksim Stojanovic
Posted on 6 Jan 2012 6:13 pm

so with this tax, what are you going to do in terms of improving our atmosphere? to clarify what physical changes are going to take place by individuals to actually and physically improve the air quality by reducing the pollution levels?? You politicians call this a carbon tax debarkle, this is peoples lives your playing with, arguing back and forth, getting your faces on tv. i say its time for revolution baby. No Politicians equals no problems live happy and free.