September 7: Hot Topics for Business

The slogans are finding more commercial airtime, the political bloggers are running on overtime and your local MP is suddenly attending every community event possible: Election Day 2013 has been set for September 7. The Australian voting public are now faced with a bombardment of agendas and policies; from what is best for your country’s security to what is best for your local school.

federal election
However in the back of voters’ minds will be how will this affect my working life? What opportunities will this generate or how will this change the way we conduct business? If over the next four years you intend to market your services or products to the public sector there are some key policy developments to watch.

Are you a small business?

For small businesses there are some key policy decisions being proposed by both sides of the political spectrum in the 2013 election race. Presently Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is aiming to bring the Australian Labor Party back towards the centre of the left movement, while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is looking to tighten ties with the Liberal’s bread and butter business allegiances.

The Small Business portfolio has fallen under criticism for its high turnover rate, however its current Minister Greg Gay is swearing a return to continuity. Amongst his promises developments of note include:

• Removing the carbon tax, with an estimated $380 savings to the average household (as reported by ABC online)
• Appointing the first Australian Small Business Commissioner
• Allowing companies to carry back up to $1 million worth of losses

However Labor’s commitment to the portfolio has been questioned. Executive Director of Independent Contractors Australia Ken Phillips has criticised Labor for denying essential ABN’s and adding more red tape to the practices of small construction and clothing companies.

With 90% of Australian businesses falling under the small business banner, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is calling for election support from the sector. Under a Liberal leadership the following changes have been promised:

• Restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, scrapped under Labor, and to work within the existing Fair Work Act
• Give small business the option to remit compulsory superannuation payments made on behalf of workers directly to the Australian Taxation Office (as reported by the Financial Standard)
• Establish a new Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council to advise government on developing the economy

Addressing the carbon tax debate

The continuing debate over the carbon tax from both sides of the political spectrum could be viewed as one of the most influential policy moves for Australian business. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s removal of the carbon tax is believed to have prompted the resignation of former Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, marking another high profile exit from the party. Instead, the Prime Minister plans to replace the tax with a floating system of European influence on 1st July 2014.

However the economic impacts of the tax removal will be felt, with ABC online reporting a $3.8 billion dollar hole in Labor’s economic planning over the next four years. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said it was the most responsible course of action for the party to take.

“The nation’s 370 biggest polluters will continue to pay for their carbon pollution but the cost will be reduced meaning less pressure on consumers,” the Prime Minister told ABC online.

In response, Liberal Leader Tony has called the carbon tax removal a sham, saying the world is not moving towards more taxes, whether they are fixed or floating.

Removing the carbon tax is part of a seven point productivity plan Prime Minister Kevin Rudd plans to take to the election, as are plans to reduce power prices. If Labor is successful at the polls it is most likely there will be a post-election push to pressure NSW and QLD State Government to privatise their power assets and introduce retail competition.

Meanwhile in news for education suppliers, the Liberal Party have unconditionally agreed to support the Gonski education reforms. If elected, the Coalition have declared to adopt the funding model for at least a year before review.

Are you part of a multinational?

Globally, Australia presents an increasingly attractive economy for investment by international brands and international networks. Of the election hot topics, the implementation of Labor’s NBN could be perceived as a big win for online publishing and communications, while an eager eye on the carbon tax may also be of high priority.

As the economy becomes an increasingly heated topic for the 2013 election the Australian Trade Commission continues to promote a stable and growing economy, with Australia’s real GDP growth expected to outperform every major advanced economy to 2017.


Michael Bleakley is a journalist, communicator and marketing professional of 25 years. His career began in his early 20’s publishing tech magazines for education. Michael’s career then moved into online and book publishing for a global business publisher, then finally into database publishing and marketing at A-ZGovBIZ.

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