Whatever strange detours this coming eight-month election campaign will take we can be confident that all political roads trudged by the two major parties will pass through western Sydney. And get used to hearing “battleground” associated with any bit of Sydney dirt from Parramatta outwards.

Charging into battle. Pic: Nikki Short

“What you can expect,” said Tasmanian-based Liberal Senate leader Eric Abetz yesterday, neatly wrapping up the two certainties, “is Tony Abbott moving amongst people in areas such as western Sydney which is the key battleground for this election.”

Julia Gillard and crew won’t be strangers in that area, either.

Mr Abbott, the Opposition Leader, had his faux campaign launch on Sunday in the Labor-held Sydney electorate of Reid. Expect the Liberal election launch proper to be somewhere in that general vicinity.

Likewise the launch of a Gillard “Labor values” campaign might be hosted by the western suburbs.

Obviously the Liberals believe they can take a swag of seats from Labor. But why is the area so vulnerable for the Government?

While the candidates in western Sydney might be shouting loudest about asylum seekers, Budgets and carbon pricing, the core issue in the fight for these seats will be the mood of small business.

A senior Labor figure believes the unheralded issue hurting his party is the struggle to survive in small business. Western Sydney workers have taken to Mark Latham’s “ladder of opportunity” and invested in their ambitions, only to hit obstacles.

The Labor figure believes the frustration and economic pain felt by small business operators is making the city’s west ready for revolt.

This is the empire of the tradie who expands by taking on a few staff and greater risk.

The electorates depend significantly on small businesses for jobs and incomes - from owner-operator micro outfits to companies employing up to 20 staff.

And NSW has had a tough time with its smallest entrepreneurs.

An analysis by the Department of Innovation released last month outlines the small business slaughter between June 2007 and June 2011, which included the global financial crisis.

The survivability rate in NSW was the second lowest of any of the states at 59.8 per cent, just behind Victoria on 60.7 per cent. Small business survivability in Queensland was 57.8 per cent for the period but that was because of the devastating floods of two years ago.

Farmers are small business operators, too. And so are many western Sydney residents. The seat of Greenway, the electorate which might have made Tony Abbott Prime Minister in 2010 had state Liberals selected a candidate a lot earlier, has 11,400 small businesses, according to latest figures from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Lindsay, the seat the Liberals want back after losing it in 2007, has 10,400. Reid, which was where Mr Abbott had his function on Sunday, has 19,200 small businesses.

In Chifley, which includes such suburbs as Mt Druitt and Rooty Hill, there are 7,300. And in Werriwa there are 9,800 while Parramatta has 16,200. Banks has 13,400 small businesses.

Small business isn’t rife only in western Sydney. In Joe Hockey’s seat of North Sydney there are 26,800, which probably means a lot of lawyers, architects and other professionals. And other cities have suburbs matching economic conditions in Sydney’s west.

But in Sydney the plight of small business is starker, and the disappointment with Labor is keener. And this is combining with other factors Mr Abbott is keen to list.

“But obviously the current Labor Government in Canberra and the Labor Party more generally have badly let down the people of western Sydney,” he said yesterday.

“The people of western Sydney have been taken for granted by the Labor Party for far too long and as we now are seeing in ICAC and elsewhere the Labor Party in NSW just became a stinking patronage machine in government and that’s why the Labor brand is so toxic - right around Australia but particularly in the western suburbs of Sydney.”

The Federal Government is not ignoring small business and has recently introduced policies, such as appointment of a Small Business Commissioner, to answer demands from the sector.

The Coalition has also proposed a package of changes for the sector - arguably the most positive of its policy fronts.

The competition for the hearts and vote of small business in Sydney suburbs will become more strident.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

Most commented


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    • Hugh says:

      07:39am | 29/01/13

      I had to read this twice. No attacks, jokes, or negative snide comments about Abbott? What’s going on Mal?

    • gof says:

      08:18am | 29/01/13

      You forget the old punters adage of “Odds on, look on”!

    • Sergeant Schultz says:

      09:39am | 29/01/13

      Hugh…i share your amazement…maybe Mal has realised that ” King Canute could not hold back the tide “.  Seventy percent of Australia’s jobs are generated by small business. The Coalition will pay more than a passing mention to the small business sector , and rightly so. Labor’s policy of ” window dressing ” in this key area is simply not enough and is unlikely to ever gain the traction with the electorate as the Coalitions small business policies. The reason ?.....Labor’s intent is to neutralise an issue….the Coalitions intent is to increase the strength of the small business sector through a lessening of red tape and easing taxation. The benefit for all Australians being employment tenure and community advancement through re-investment and expansion. At the end of the day…our standard of living would improve under an Abbott government.

    • gof says:

      07:45am | 29/01/13

      The issue with small business is NOT Labor Party policies but the eventual, inevitable and delayed flow on effect of the introduction of the GST by the Howard Government.
      Small business is reeling from the bureaucratic and cashflow stagnating GST, if anything needs to be wound back it is not the Carbon Tax it is the GST!
      Tony Abbott in his latest mumbling NLP advert spinfest is proclaiming he will create 2 million jobs! This included in manufacturing, the sector they destroyed.

    • Zac says:

      08:00am | 29/01/13

      The spin looks quite ok but a bit of spacing would help. Can’t wait for the next release from Labor HQ.

    • dovif says:

      08:05am | 29/01/13


      do you have any idea what you are talking about, if you are making money, you are likely to have tax payable from the GST, especially if you employ people and have to remit PAYG withholding, the only people receiving refunds are some GST-Free industries

      The problem with most small business is the 14% electricity cost rise for small business and the lack of flexibility and the unfair dismisal law under fair work Australia

    • Geoff says:

      08:08am | 29/01/13

      gof has the spin cycle on high today.
      Nice try gof but you are many years to late to roll out the gst argument.

    • Anubis says:

      08:12am | 29/01/13

      @ gof - although you have been told this before (and continue to ignore it) I will say it once more. The GST replaced mutiple different level Sales Taxes ranging from 9% through to 26% (or higher). For a retailer it actually made cash flow more predictable in that instead of paying different levels of taxes on varied goods the sales tax was removed from the wholesaler/retailer transaction. The retailer adds the GST on at the final retail transaction and then passes it on to the Tax Office. The amount of withholding is easily calculated through the use of a modern cash register. The quarterly BAS statements are a pain in the butt although neither party has done anything to simplify it.

      A retailer in IT who purchased the components to build a PC (in pre GST times) had to calculate and pay at point of wholesale purchase, different tax rates for processors, ram, motherboards, cases, keyboards etc. As an example an empty computer case had a 12% sales tax rate, a CD-rom drive had a (from memory) 21% tax rate. These differing inputs made the calculations for quoting a pain in the proverbial. Much simpler under the GST.

      The Carbon Tax is a new tax and, combined with all the other ridiculous levies/charges related to Greens policy and alternative energy, are a real cost (and risk) to all businesses big and small.  While you are talking about the creation of jobs - where are Labor’s much vaunted 50,000 new jobs in Green Energy?  What happened to their promised Coast Guard (there’s another bunch of new jobs they promised that failed to materialise)?

    • ramases says:

      08:19am | 29/01/13

      I’ve read some crap in my life but that takes the cake. The GST has been in for over a decade and introduced after an election where people knew that it would be introduced if that party won and they did, unlike a certain promise to people by this Government that was broken almost the day after the election, so its effects are already known.
        The real reason that small business is faltering is because of the rises in wages that make it almost impossible to have people working on weekends and holidays.To have to pay someone over $45.00 an hour just to serve bloody coffee is beyond the pale.
        Add to that the fact that the Carbon tax is out there doing exactly nothing for the environment but swelling the coffers of this spendthrift Government and we see the real reason that businesses, big and small are suffering. Also the money that has been wasted on failed policies by this Government, the money wasted on not turning back the boats and we have the ideal recipe for disaster, which is now what’s happening.
      Point of order, the manufacturing business is being destroyed by the Unions and Labor and their incessant bleating for more wages and no more productivity and the Fair Work act which virtually makes it impossible to sack those who refuse to work but expect to be paid. Its absurd to expect companies to keep forking out money for nothing and expect them to stay viable but according to the Unions and Labor that’s okay as long as people get that pay rise.
        Its not only companies that are feeling the pinch but the tax payer as well, as bail outs for the car industry which have become a yearly thing doesn’t help the company as they go straight into the pockets of the “workers”. I for one am sick and tired of using tax payers money to pay for Unions pay rises when we all know that they wont lift a finger to help the company get back on its feet.

    • Number Cruncher says:

      08:39am | 29/01/13

      Still on about GST @ gof?  GST does not form part of business cashflow.  As I’ve previously responsed, it is only those who shouldn’t be in business who have struggled with their GST liabilities. 
      Further, manufacturing was destroyed by Labor, not NLP!

    • Steve says:

      08:39am | 29/01/13

      C’mon gof - like dovif clearly says in between the lines, regulation and taxes such as the GST are only bad if Labor implements, otherwise they are great reforms that add no extra red tape whatsoever


    • acotrel says:

      08:41am | 29/01/13

      I suspect that the argument that the GST has adversely affected our manufacturing industry might be valid. It probably has a compounding effect on the retail price of Australian made goods ?

    • Mike McDougal says:

      08:58am | 29/01/13

      Coast guard? Bwahahahaha! What about ‘Health Care Reform’? Now that was the greatest ALP con-job-lie ever if there was one. Creating a non-policy/reform, pretending it exists, telling us to wait till 2018 for ‘results’ and moving forward at warp speed before anyone could notice! I’m loving every moment of destruction of the ALP and watching their followers struggle like fish out of water to justify their BS. Capital comment gof and keep enjoying being on a losing team for the next 20 years! HAhahahaha!

    • gof says:

      09:01am | 29/01/13

      #Anubis ,
      Sales Tax was charged at the register, GST is charged throughout the lifecycle of a widget. Nice try to compensate your argument with complete nonsense though!

      “The Carbon Tax is a new tax and, combined with all the other ridiculous levies/charges related to Greens policy and alternative energy, are a real cost (and risk) to all businesses big and small”
      Going by #dovif a 14% increase in power costs! Let’s say that the quater power bill is $1000 that is an extra $140, that is about 1 tenth of the cost of the tax accountant to do the quarterly BAS do your math before making ridiculous nonsensical and false statements, guess what, if you know how to read a map, Whyalla is still there….!.

    • mikem says:

      09:07am | 29/01/13

      I trust someone will ask Abbott to provide details on where these jobs are going to be created and how he will actually do it. Oh and while they are about it also asking him to detail how many public servant jobs are going to go and where from.

    • ramases says:

      09:36am | 29/01/13

      Well gof, you have been successful in being selected to join that ever increasing band of idiots that have been sent to Coventry. Your ranting and ravings have earned you a place that many aspire to but few succeed, well done me old mate.

    • Steve Putnam says:

      10:14am | 29/01/13

      The GST is part of the Australian financial landscape and businesses have pretty much worked out strategies for paying it, but when it was introduced it presented a host of new problems for small business. Some examples:
      A good friend who runs an automotive and tyre service was hit hard in the following way. The GST reduced the wholesale sales tax on new tyres from 22.5% to 10%, but the price on re-treads increased by 10% , making their respective prices near enough to parity. As a result, the demand for retreads plummeted and the tyre wholesalers no longer accepted the old casings. The problem was further complicated by the fact that no landfills (at the time) accepted the old casings either, and he was left with a tyre mountain. He was forced to close down that side of his operation.
      I’m not a retailer so I can’t say whether or not it simplified things for them but I suspect not. My local corner shop owner told me that as a result of the GST he had become a de-facto tax collector. His exact words were: “I work one month of the year for the government”. He ended up closing down within a year and the shop has remained empty ever since despite its prime location.
      I give these examples not because I am in favour of removing the GST, but to counter the view that it was seamlessly bedded into the Australian economy and was a boon for small business.
      Comparisons with carbon pricing are odious. It is a mechanism for changing business and consumer behaviour not a tax scheme, as it is revenue neutral and small business is compensated. It is but one small step in reducing the impact of the production process on the environment. To put it in business terms: “The Economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Environment”.

    • Gregg says:

      10:45am | 29/01/13

      ” GST is charged throughout the lifecycle of a widget. “
      So good goffy, it could be goofy.
      You’ve won acotrel over at least, so there must be something in the goofiness stream.

      I even pay GST on my superannuation fund earnings and it comes around just every three months and there might even be the possibility of paying it yearly.
      At the same time, income into my fund monthly has GST included so I have three months of it having been collected and in an account earning interest before any payment is necessary.

      Then for where I have to pay invoices with a GST component, that component is balanced against any GST payable from that coming in with income, so it’s no big deal and a very simple approach.

    • Anubis says:

      10:48am | 29/01/13

      @ gof - you are obviously not in business yourself. Sales Tax was paid to the wholesaler by the retailer and covered a range of different rates dependent upon the goods. The sales tax did make up a part of the final sale price at the register but that was only recovery of input costs by the retailer as they had already paid the sales tax to the wholesaler. The implementation of the GST actually brought down the prices of many goods as, at 10%, it is a lesser rate than what the majority of Sales Taxes were, Electronics is one field that recorded significant price drops when the GST was introduced (as did a number of other key consumer goods). I have a feeling that it is you, gof, who is talking absolutely rubbish - probably direct from the McTernan/ALP Book of spin.

      As to your ridiculous Whyalla comment - no relevance - that particular comment was made by an AWU, you know, the union Julia did pro-bono work for while sleeping with one of their representatives. This from 19 April 2011:

      THE state’s two key industrial cities will be “wiped off the map” by a carbon tax, a major union warns.

      The tax would strip thousands of jobs from Whyalla and Port Pirie, the Australian Workers Union state secretary Wayne Hanson said.

      The internal revolt from Labor’s industrial heartland threatens not just the reform but the Government’s survival.

      Mr Hanson yesterday stepped up his union’s opposition to the tax, claiming the future of both cities would be in serious doubt because both had economies based on the high-emission production of steel, iron ore and zinc.

      “Goodbye. They will be off the map,” he said.

      So that puts the lie to your Whyalla rant too. @ gof - educate yourself by getting out into the real world gof. Give up the dole, get a real job and stop reading the McTernan Book of spin and you may actually be able to make some comments of relevance

    • Anubis says:

      10:50am | 29/01/13

      @ mikem - maybe after Julia manages to show where her 50,000 new clean energy jobs are. Aren’t they supposed to be in place by now?

    • gof says:

      11:38am | 29/01/13

      #Anubis , #Gregg,
      It’s an admirable trait the way you resort to name calling when you cannot get a coherent sentence across and you know your argument is severely flawed. Kind of like how the leader of the opposition tends to role out misogynistic and sexist remarks when under the slightest amount of pressure from our female PM. You guys try to be the bullies but just end up looking like a dunce.

    • tez says:

      11:43am | 29/01/13

      The GST costs $1,000 Per quarter in accounting fees + in house addmin.
      Service industries are fine as they get paid on the day only a few product buyins and who knows if all the cash money gos through the till
      Manufacturing a different thing when buying thousands of dollars in materials on 30days usually, manufacturing time, wages weekly, and depending when during the quarter the job is invoiced the GST can be due before a 30 day invoice is paid. The GST can be very difficult for small manufacturing business. The GST was going to be the cure all to stop the black money but to be honest how many of you have asked the local tradesman to give a better price for cash, do you think he is going to worry about a few GST credits when he can put cash in his pocket.

    • dovif says:

      01:15pm | 29/01/13

      Steve and ies

      facts are all business need to prepare accounts to do their tax return at the end of the year, which means summerising receipts and reporting them to the ATO. All the GST did was to make them prepare accounts 4 times a year (unless they are small business) which can do it once a year.

      As for accounting fees, I know of many business that does their own adding up of invoices and pay no accounting fees to do their BAS

      GST is in almost every country in the world, including New Zealand. The first politician who wanted to introduce it into Australia was Paul Keating, who also was the last competant ALP politician. Only dinosaurs still complain about the GST, or people who are completely clueless about GST and tax requirement in Australia

      Some of the people I know do their GST claim on an excel spreadsheet or use software like MYOB or Zero, if they are bigger. It also make it easier for them to do their tax at the end of the year.

      The whole world had moved on. Roll back is dead

    • Steve Putnam says:

      02:15pm | 29/01/13

      @ramases “$45.00 an hour just to serve bloody coffee” I call bullshit. I give the counter example of a middle aged man I know who, having been made redundant in his late forties, re-trained as chef, but despite being fully qualified was paid only $14.50 per hour.
      His employer resisted all attempts at mediation and when, following years of making no headway, the case was taken to the Office of Fair Trading, the business owner shut the restaurant down without notice. Furthermore, no certificates of separation were issued, so my friend has not been able to even claim the dole. He has been forced upon the charity of friends and relatives.
      I hasten to add that the establishment in question, occupying a prime spot in King St Newtown, was not a new eatery struggling for market share but well patronised, with bookings essential on a Friday and Saturday night (not that this would have justified paying people below the legal minimum adult wage).
      How can the restaurant owner get away with this? You tell me. The case has been with the Office of Fair Trading for a year now, but my friend has still not received as much as a dollar of the thousands he is owed.

    • tez says:

      02:16pm | 29/01/13

      Dovit: don’t like to be challenged. All small legit business know how to handle their GST. and it still takes time and money to do it.
      The GST to be a fair dinkum tax should be on everything including health and education and then we could sit back and listen to the professions complain.

    • dovif says:

      03:17pm | 29/01/13

      GST is an efficient tax, that is why every country in the world has it, It takes time, so does doing the tax return. The ALP/Greens are not proposing eliminating the GST. Any complains now is irrelevant, no party in Australia and perhaps the world would want to get rid of the GST

    • Al says:

      03:50pm | 29/01/13

      Steve Putnam - so if it is with the Office of Fair Trading I am assuming your friend was engaged as an independent contractor (and not an employee) and as such it was an issue of a contract between 2 buisnesses?
      Otherwise he has his complaint in front of the wrong people and they will not be able to do anything.
      Since 1 January 2010 this would be handled via the Fair Work Ombudsman, not the office of Fair Trading (and before 1/1/2010 it was either the AIRC or IR NSW) if it involves employer/employee issues including underpayment.

    • Steve Putnam says:

      04:56pm | 29/01/13

      @Al Correct. It was the Fair Work Ombudsman with whom the complaint was lodged; my mistake. By all accounts it is a toothless tiger. This office is either unwilling or unable to force the restaurant owner to issue certificates of separation (there are several people involved) as the law states he must. As I mentioned, my friend has been unable to receive any unemployment benefits in lieu of one and he has not received any hardship payments despite being unemployed.
      He has made several job applications but has had no luck due in great part to being unable to produce a reference.

    • Mouse says:

      05:11pm | 29/01/13

      gof, you really don’t know what you are talking about do you?  lol :o)

    • mikem says:

      05:32pm | 29/01/13

      Anubis the ridiculousness of politicians making statements like that is exactly the point.  Making the promise is easy - delivering is much harder.  For a promise of that magnitude to be believable it needs to be based on facts rather than rhetoric. 

      We deserve to know the basis on which the claim is made and if it is a core or non core promise.  We also need to know if Abbott is talking net or gross given that his previous statements about reducing the size of government means that there will be swathes of public servants joining the unemployment queue.

    • Angry God of Townsville says:

      06:50pm | 29/01/13

      Labor hates small businesses. They are a shining example of capitalism and personal success through effort. If the state is not required to support a person then the state is powerless and therein lies the hatred within the ALP and goof.

      Every statement by paid ALP trolls on this site will always fail to mask their true hatred of people whom obtain personal success that was not achieved by ripping of unknowing workers or being plumped up by an overpaid government position. The ALP has so many members in the sights of the police for corruption and misappropriation that the only way they can hang on to power is for the personal lies against those who challenge their power.

      The biggest killers of small business is not the GST but the decisions of the tax office designed to stagnate the cashflow. It is the PAYG that needs reforms and not the GST but gof will never inform you of this.

    • Terry2 says:

      07:46am | 29/01/13

      Very slick start from the Libs, obviously been watching Barack Obama closely. also noted that Tony has had a makeover, including deportment lessons; noted yesterday that the ‘bovver boy’ swagger was not in evidence.
      Looks as though there will be very little policy detail and policy costings will largely be dismissed by reference to ‘once we have cleaned up the Labor mess’ and ‘when the budget permits’.
      Going to be an interesting campaign of perceptions but little substance it seems.

    • Chillin says:

      07:58am | 29/01/13

      Well that Labor Party ‘mess’ is more like an avalanche of disaster.  Future generation is buried in debt.  Everyone has a big screen television and killer roof insulation.

      Apparently, perfectly justified.  Well done!

    • Mack says:

      07:59am | 29/01/13

      Julia’s had a bit of work done over the Christmas break as well.  And wears Magaret Thatcher pearls to boot. Won’t help tho….what with her most recent knifing.

    • Kevin says:

      08:38am | 29/01/13

      timing is everything Terry. policy costings will come at the right time

    • Eda says:

      09:21am | 29/01/13

      ’ Everyone has a big screen television and killer roof insulation.’

      Nope, don’t have a big screen telly, and the roof insulation was already in the house/roof, when I bought it 15 years ago.

    • JoniM says:

      09:33am | 29/01/13

      And it seemed the PM had her partner and “first bloke” throw off the moth balls and emerge as her secret weapon onto the campaign trail ! Although I don’t think she meant him to dilute the misogyny and racism strategy planned for Abbott, thanks to Tim’s beaut faux pas yesterday ?
      After such a promising first day out in public, it seems Tim may have to be sin binned to the toolshed again !
      Can’t live with them ! Can’t live without them ! Eh PM !

    • Mat says:

      03:34pm | 29/01/13

      @ Terry2 - I think you have your wires crossed buddy - it is the ALP that are closely aligned with Obama and his socialist agenda.

      Anyway - this is about small business and below is why the voter (whom is concerned about small business should be careful of the ALP:

      The six leading members of the Government, from Ms Gillard down, have a collective work experience of 181 years, but only 13 years in the private sector.
      If you take out of those 13 years the number that were spent as trade union lawyers, 11 years, only two years were spent in the private sector.
      So out of those 181 years:
      - no years spent running their own business
      - no years spent starting their own business
      - no years spent as a director of a family business or a company
      - no years as a director of a public company
      - no years in a senior position in a public company
      - no years in a senior position in a private company
      - no years working in corporate finance
      - no years in corporate or business restructuring
      - no years working in or with a bank
      - no years of experience in the capital markets
      - no years in a stock-broking firm
      - no years in negotiating debt facilities with banks
      - no years running a small business
      - no years at the World Bank or IMF or OECD
      - no years in Treasury or Finance.
      That’s your ALP right there above - very underqualified.

    • Comprehension Nazi says:

      04:21pm | 29/01/13

      @ Mat

      I think Terry2 was talking about presentation not policy.

    • Mouse says:

      06:07pm | 29/01/13

      JoniM, no, it’s you can’t live with them and you can’t live with them… 
      See what I did there?  lol :o)

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:52am | 29/01/13

      I don’t think “battleground” is the right word. It implies that there will actually be a fight.

      Of course Labor will howl, kick and scream about working families, opportunity and values. But in this fight it’s like some puny wimpy kid vs a heavyweight boxer. The kid is inevitably going to be knocked out.

    • Al says:

      08:18am | 29/01/13

      Tubesteak - I don’t know, even a wimpy kid could bring down a heavyweight boker with a well aimed hit to the groin.
      Not that I think it will happen though.

    • acotrel says:

      08:36am | 29/01/13

      It would be like hitting a man with glasses on - Labor is governing during the GFC and must look bad. There is only one thing wrong with the theory - Labor’s performance in spite of adversity may not go unnoticed.

    • Gregg says:

      10:51am | 29/01/13

      You cannot rely on the GFC like building the coathanger nor the SMHE, both of which had history over many governments.
      Sure as hell though, there’ll be no overlooking a series of disastrous performances on all fronts and which also have not so great future implications.

      This the year of The Finishing Off!

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:03am | 29/01/13

      If threatened fight dirty! haha

      Even with the GFC Labor hava managed to bungle a lot of things. The recent appointment of Nova Peris-Kneebone is another one in a long line of disappointing choices by Labor. A lot of people really don’t like the carbon tax lie. Regardless of the policy intent, people don’t like being told there will be no tax only for a tax to be introduced.

    • Jaqui says:

      12:43pm | 29/01/13

      @Tubesteak: You forgot to mention LIE, Labor will lie, lie, lie, lie about just about everything, nothing will be off limits, of that you can be certain.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Gillard didn’t stand up and offer everyone a million bucks each to vote for her (of course most will see it in the same light as “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” but she’ll get some suckers).

    • Al says:

      12:50pm | 29/01/13

      Tubesteak - “If threatened fight dirty!” yep, I thought that was standard practice from all politicians.

    • Zack says:

      02:47pm | 29/01/13

      The problem the ALP have is Gillard pure and simple. If the leader of their own party is not popular with their Labor core support base, it is pure political suicide entering an election with her in charge. It will be a fun election massacre for the ALP, pass the popcorn please.

    • Achmed says:

      08:01am | 29/01/13

      Labor have done some thing to help small business with changes to the tax system
      - the small business instant asset write-off threshold has increased from $1,000 to $6,500
      - small businesses can claim an accelerated initial deduction for motor vehicles acquired in 2012-13 and subsequent years
      - the long life small business pool and the general small business pool have been consolidated into a single pool to be written off at one rate.
      Labor attempted to get a 1% reduction is taxation through Parliament but this reduction was voted down by the Liberals with support from others

    • Reacher says:

      08:14am | 29/01/13

      That’s more than any Liberal Govt has done.  All they did was impose a greater work load on small business with making them the tax collectors for the GST

    • Geoff says:

      08:20am | 29/01/13

      There must be mass rallies from small business owners thanking labor for all their hard work…
      Its like going to the doctor and getting your legs amputated but it is ok because he gave you a lolly pop!

    • dovif says:

      08:29am | 29/01/13


      All those things you mentioned does not help small business, it just move deduction from a later year to an earlier year, meaning a deferal of tax bill. Meanwhile, small business are slugged with Carbon tax, flood levy, etc with many without compensation, which is an actual cost to small business.

      Added to that the “fair work” requirement it is no wonder small business are struggling

    • lostinperth says:

      08:39am | 29/01/13

      - and have ratcheted up electricity prices through the carbon tax
      - have introduced laws making it much harder to dismiss incompetent or dishonest workers
      - have introduced more paperwork through various botched nationalisation plans brought on to please the uniuons
      - have crated a budget defecit that is the breath taking and will take ordinary Australians a decade to pay back

      Small business needs an efficient, competant government that engenders confidence in the economy.  We have an inefficient government that has created a bloated, legislation ridden bureaucracy at the behest of the unions. There is no confidence that this government has any fiscal competance (with good reason)  and people do not want to spend.

    • Allan says:

      08:47am | 29/01/13

      Unfortunately the nickel and dime write offs are rubbish.
      My small business had 25% increases in energy costs while the Australian Dollar exchange rate gave my competitors in New Zealand and USA around a 20% pricing advantage. My margins were being squeezed. Other input cost of fruit and veg etc varied due to drought and flood and as such Govt had little effect on those.
      I closed the doors of my business 18 months ago removing 4 full time equivalent jobs from the economy (I had a number of mothers with young kids that job shared) after fifteen years in business.
      The Rudd/ Gillard Govt stole my enthusiasm to keep on fighting to keep the business going.
      Luckily I live near Canberra and have found easier paid employement with much lesseffort required.

    • Borderer says:

      08:55am | 29/01/13

      Yeah, cos using a single simplified tax that is built into basic accounting software that is easy to complete is so much harder than multiple taxes and forms to varies government agencies….

    • gof says:

      09:07am | 29/01/13

      #Reacher ,
      Luv your work Reacher!
      The right wingers on here proclaiming GST good, CT bad, are not small business operators, they are just middle class welfare recipient scum, bludging of the hard working small business operators, all they fear is that their non contributing income provided in bucket loads by the Howard/ Abbott government will be cut by the ALP. Their self entitlement is sickening to the core.

    • dovif says:

      09:17am | 29/01/13

      Lets see what the Liberal government under Howard did

      Small business CGT exeption, which can reduce tax paid by business to 0.
      Much more generous superannuation contribution limit for small business
      exemption from unfair dismisal laws
      Capital gain discount
      Lower company tax rate from 34%-30%
      Lower individual income tax rate with large increases in threshold
      Small business entity tax rule, including simplified depreciation, inventory valuation, cash accounting etc

      People who have no idea should not make comments

      The Liberal government under Howard helped small busines about 100 times more then what the ALP government and did not increase taxes like Carbon tax, flood levy etc

    • Tubesteak says:

      09:21am | 29/01/13

      They weren’t voted down. They never took the cut to a Bill. They dumped their own promise in a later budget. Last year’s budget, if I remember correctly.

      It had nothing to do with the Libs.

    • Achmed says:

      09:44am | 29/01/13

      What short memories or is that selective memories.  The Ansett levy, the gun buy back levy and the sugar industry levy….all under Howard.

      And you want to rave/rant about one levy that was to assist fellow Australians crippled by a natural disaster.

    • Achmed says:

      09:46am | 29/01/13

      @Allan - the State Liberals in WA increased power costs 60%.  STATE not federal govt….

    • Greg says:

      10:36am | 29/01/13

      Lets not forget they also increased super contributions as well, all the things mentioned increase costs for small business. It is the increased costs fo doing business that is killing small business, that a few tax write offs.

    • Anubis says:

      10:56am | 29/01/13

      @ Achmed - The Flood Levy was NOT in place ” to assist fellow Australians crippled by a natural disaster” . The Flood Levy was put in place to cover the Qld ALP’s arse for not insuring the State’s infrastructure. Not one cent of the flood levy went to the victims of the flooding. It all went into ALP coffers.

    • JoniM says:

      12:24pm | 29/01/13

      “Labor have done some thing to help small business ...”

      Labor does nothing for small business !
      Why would they ? Small business is not unionised. How can they contribute to the Party funding ? And they’re too small to do any shonky deals with !
      Best for the ALP to just pretend they really do care for small business, whilst doing the shonky deals with big unionised business, who don’t care for them !

    • acotrel says:

      08:23am | 29/01/13

      ‘The Coalition has also proposed a package of changes for the sector - arguably the most positive of its policy fronts.’

      Are we going to see Sophie Mirabella become innovative and actually do something to help manufacturing in Australia instead of just kissing the Abbott’s bottom?

    • Gregg says:

      10:56am | 29/01/13

      It did not take too long for you to come out with personal insults, not unusual seeing as there is not much else to prop up Labor with.
      Of course, don’t forget the Dr. No bit, Swannie and Nesey going to town with it! and neither never learns either.

    • John Oh says:

      08:39am | 29/01/13

      re No attacks etc.
      Papers have been threatened by the Gillard government I suspect.
      We haven’t heard much more on the increased power prices or carbon tax, nor climate change. Union threats?
      Bill Gates said the way to improve life for the poor was to lower power prices.
      SO why is the Gillard government doing the opposite? Its messing with our industries and production costs plus giving real polluters overseas a get out of jail free card with the carbon tax, but not USA China and all those countries who are laughing their heads of because of our stupidity.

    • GusKrik says:

      08:55am | 29/01/13

      Ever increasing rents/leases, states increasing power/water etc costs .  People really need to get a grasp on what is state govt responsibility and what is Federal govt responsibility.
      The federal Govt introduced the CT, in WA the State Liberals increased poer cost by 60% in less than 3 years and are planning another 25% increase over the next couple of years.  Any fool can see that the 60% imposed by the State is far more damaging than the amount of increase of the CT which was less than the GST

    • John Oh says:

      10:09am | 29/01/13

      Federal government slashes funds for liberal state governments as punishment. I have a good grasp on whats happening with State and Federal issues.  State governments are being underfunded. Just look at the hospitals etc….using any excuse to keep from sinking.
      With state government being limited in what they can tax, you cannot really blame state governments putting the boot into voters, much as it hurts to keep the system going. Idealism is breaking our country apart. No federal government people, either male of female are fit to be married as far as this Australian is concerned. But then again, they’re a bunch of loose living hippies it seems…anyway.

    • dexxter says:

      09:01am | 29/01/13

      Small business is being decimated by the unfettered growth of the two major supermarket groups in many areas, and other than Sen Xenophon and Bob Katter, no other politicians stand out as actively supporting small business, the biggest employers in the country - not even the small business Minister.

    • dexxter says:

      09:01am | 29/01/13

      Small business is being decimated by the unfettered growth of the two major supermarket groups in many areas, and other than Sen Xenophon and Bob Katter, no other politicians stand out as actively supporting small business, the biggest employers in the country - not even the small business Minister.

    • Geronimo says:

      09:02am | 29/01/13

      Ring the bells, lock the doors…Ding Dong…Hail the newborn Archangel Abbott…The greatest flappable fraud since Billy Big Ears…Raaaaah!

    • Gregg says:

      10:59am | 29/01/13

      Are you OK there at the moment?
      Seriously, there are places you can ring for help, even with all the flooding.

    • wm says:

      09:10am | 29/01/13

      can’t wait for Abbott to promise that ALL prices will MASSIVELY fall when he removes the carbon tax and thus increases my taxes and reduces my family payments…

    • Gregg says:

      11:07am | 29/01/13

      Do not hold your breath for just as Labor has overcommitted income not likely to be sustained with the CT and definitely not the MRRT, as broad as changes can be, even under Labor who themselves have seen the need to cut back on expenditure for you can never maintain it forever by simply borrowing more, the LNP will also need to take a broad brush approach to getting closer to balancing expenditure against revenue, any shorter term pain needed to be felt by us all, also far better for all of us as we move forward, that’s life and no magical wand.

      Putting it in simpler terms, how would you fare personally if you continued to borrow more and more money if you could and did not have the means to repay the borrowings.
      Even if you did have the means to repay, by overborrowing rather than tightening the belt a notch, you would be putting more of your income into the pockets of those you have borrowed from rather than having it available to use instead of still more borrowing.

    • SAm says:

      11:58am | 29/01/13

      Well if I was Tony Abbott Gregg, id be promising to abolish several of these income streams, as well as introducing a few more types of middle class welfare. That will fix it all!

    • Achmed says:

      09:40am | 29/01/13

      It was interesting to hear a media commentator saying that Abbott was not a supporter of WorkChoices when it was introduced.

      Quotes- “let me begin my contribution to this debate by reminding members that workplace reform was one of the greatest achievements of the Howard government”
      “WorkCoices did not cost the former Government the election”

      So has he backflipped on these statements?  Which statement is the lie, these ones saying theat it was all good or his current ‘workchoices is dead’ statement?

    • Al says:

      10:58am | 29/01/13

      Achmed - you seem to be mis-interpreting a bit.
      There were quite a few workplace reforms that the coalition implemented before the disaster that was WorkChoices.
      The vast majority of these reforms were good.
      WorkChoices went too far and (rightly so) did cost them the election.
      The reforms provided for in the Workplace Relations Act 1996, before modified by WorkChoices made many people happen but massively reduced the powers of unions to dictate conditions and individual workers could enter into their own arrangements with their employer with no involvement of the unions if they decided too.
      So the majority of the reforms under the Howard governemnt were good, it was just the last change that went too far that was bad, yet this is the only change that Labour actualy refers too.

    • Michael says:

      11:10am | 29/01/13

      Which level of government do you defraud whilst you bang on in here? Federal or State?

      It’s no wonder you are so confused as to whom should be held responsible, all of your failures must be the fault of the people that didn’t get your job, or the person that held it before you.

    • SAm says:

      11:37am | 29/01/13

      sorry Al. Workchoices was conveniently a great Liberal policy when we are talking about the Liberals overall, but when we are talking about Tony Abbott we must say that he opposed Workchoices, because, you know, hes such a nice bloke.
      So which one is bad, Workchoices or Abbott? Cause they are apparently at odds with each other depending on the context of the debate

    • Al says:

      12:48pm | 29/01/13

      Sam - I have to disagree, WorkChoices was not a good policy. It simply put the balance of power too far in the employers favour.
      I am just saying that many or the workplace reforms done under the Howard government prior to WorkChoices were good policies and that saying they have learnt their lesson regarding WorkChoices being bad policy is not surprising at all.
      As for if Abbott opposed it when it was introduced, I doubt it as that would have been political suicide for his future in the Liberal party. He may have raised a few concerns, but that is not opposing it.

    • SAm says:

      04:27pm | 29/01/13

      in other words..having it both ways?

    • gobsmack says:

      09:48am | 29/01/13

      “The survivability rate in NSW was the second lowest of any of the states at 59.8 per cent, just behind Victoria on 60.7 per cent.”

      Yes, but how does that compare to previous times?

      Small businesses going out of business is nothing new.  That’s how capitalism works.  Survival of the fittest and all that.  Small businesses whingeing about their lot is nothing new either.

    • John Oh says:

      10:51am | 29/01/13

      Small business hasn’t got the political clout to survive due to lacking influence with government. Corporations do. Its not about survival of the fittest but avoiding the corporate bulldozer tactics…and mostly a lack of ethics from corporations who will even sell their grandmothers to make a buck..

    • Sam says:

      10:12am | 29/01/13

      And typically, the voters living outside of Sydney are ignored once again.

    • JoniM says:

      12:12pm | 29/01/13

      You best save up, Sam !
      So you can move to western Sydney also ! Get your voice heard !
      Then you too can contribute to the upkeep of the southern States whilst enjoying the luxuries of the outer surburban sprawl, the spiralling costs, those hours of travel, the overcrowded trains if your lucky, or the tollways costs and parking fees just to get you to your work to begin your contributing !
      Lucky they aren’t the ignored voters ! Or it could be real tough !

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      10:25am | 29/01/13

      “This is the empire of the tradie who expands by taking on a few staff and greater risk.”

      The only risk a tradie takes is the ATO finding out. Cash only thanks and no receipts will be issued…....

    • Raf of Victoria says:

      10:59am | 29/01/13

      Australia is young and free but how dumb will Australia be at the next election

      quick poll your pick who will get in

    • gof says:

      11:40am | 29/01/13

      ALP by 14 seats and Wayne Swan as PM.
      Abbott to lose his blue ribbon gifted seat and put into political obscurity where he naturally belongs.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      11:54am | 29/01/13

      Who cares? Both parties are broadly the same. I can have Gillard’s middle class family welfare or I can have Abbott’s middle class family welfare (Actually a single person I’ll be eligible for neither). I can have GIllard’s paid parental leave scheme or Abbott’s paid parental scheme. I can have Gillard’s high immigration policies or Abbott’s high immigration policies. I can have Gillard’s Carbon Reduction Scheme or Abbott’s Carbon Reduction Scheme (either way I’m going to pay). Voting between ALP and Coalition is like voting between death by arsenic or death by cyanide.

    • JoniM says:

      12:38pm | 29/01/13

      Fair dinkum gof !
      So the pollsters say LNP by 18. The bookies say the LNP by 19.
      But you have the ALP by 14 ?
      “......how dumb will Australia be at the next election ?”
      Surely not that dumb ? Or perhaps you’re just happy working with a margin of error of 30 - 40 seats?
      As for me, can’t remember the bookies ever being far wrong with their markets on political outcomes.

    • Daz says:

      12:20pm | 29/01/13

      If Abbott or Labor was serious about gaining the vote of small business and farmers the first thing they would do is steal a platform from Bob Katter. Yes he does come up with a good policy now and then.

      They should introduce a strategic plan to progressively reduce the market share of companies such as Coles and Woolworths, Bunnings and the large petrol companies. Not like tomorrow as in the present government’s knee jerk reaction to images of cattle slaughter in Indonesia that crippled graziers in the north but over a ten or fifteen year time frame. 

      Companies like the ones above have agressive policies to drive small competitors out of the market and screw suppliers down to the bone. Once they get rid of small competitors who set pricing benchmarks how do you know how much anything costs anymore when there are only one or two to turn to? Petrol wouldn’t be anywhere as dear as it is now if there were more independent operators in the market but they have been seen off.

      If Liberal or Labor was prepared to do this they would pretty much vacuum up the votes of just about every small business person and farmer in Australia. It may not be popular initially with the average consumer who loves paying $1 per litre for milk but what they don’t realise is when most dairy farmers go broke they’ll be paying a lot more than that. 

      As anyone who understands marketing can tell you it’s all about creating the illusion of cheapness. Once they finish screwing small competitors and suppliers guess who’s next?

    • Esteban says:

      01:21pm | 29/01/13

      ALP minister for small business is the ultimate oxymoron.

    • Ron Vincent says:

      02:04pm | 29/01/13

      My friend what makes you think the ALP by 14 and Wayne as PM. AND Abbott to lose his seat!!!. The bookmakers who are very rarely wrong are predicting the Liberals by at least 19. They are just lining up to take the money off chumps like you. Let me know if you are game to put your money where your mouth is?

    • Ted says:

      02:16pm | 29/01/13

      The Coalition has also proposed a package of changes for the sector - arguably the most positive of its policy fronts.

      and when “shit happens” what are you going to do?

      Don’t forget that we the people are not sovereign as it is in Switzerland under their system of direct democracy.
      In a next few months our elected autocratic members of parliament will behave like true servant of the people with so much bullshits promises that we will forget who they really are.
      Ignorance is bliss.


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