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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6796


Mr IRONS (Swan) (10:58): I would like to address some issues to the Minister for Small Business and thank him for recently visiting the electorate of Swan on two occasions to talk to small businesses and a business incubation group down in Kensington. I know that the member for Oxley was also in Swan not long ago representing that Labor were actually interested in businesses. As someone who has been in small business since 1981 and has been through the period of both Labor and Liberal governments, I know that Labor are no friend of small business—never have been, never will be. They just do not get it. They stand up there all time saying, 'We're the friends of small business.' What an absolute joke.

In the 30 years I have been in business, it has been very plain to anyone in small business. No-one I know in the small business association stands up and says: 'Give us a Labor government. We want a Labor government for small business.' Who says that? The Labor Party says it. The unions say it. But it is certainly not said by businesses. Businesses do not say, 'We want a Labor government,' I can tell you. We only need to look at the royal commission. That gives you a perfect example of how unions and the Labor Party treat small businesses. That is all the stuff that is coming out now. They had Western Australia. I know there were times in Western Australia in the construction industry, where my background is, where many small businesses paid thousands and thousands of dollars to unions and to ALP fronts—even training fronts. That is coming out now, isn't it?

I heard the member for Oxley mention training programs. There is one in Welshpool that for years has been taking money from small businesses. If you go there, there are no training programs, but they are still getting the money. They are still being paid by the small business people, who are blackmailed or put into situations where they are supposed to be paying for non-existent training programs. I know that small business has enormous compliance costs as well, so I will ask the minister—since we are running out of time—what real changes are being made by the coalition to assist small business?