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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2508


Mr BILLSON (Dunkley) (13:45): COSBOA, Family Business Australia and some of the government's own advisers have really belled the cat that the political turmoil wreaking havoc through this government is actually damaging small business. It is distracting this divided and dysfunctional government from addressing the key issues that the small business community is confronting: the carbon tax, workplace relations, competition policy reform and the need for a small business ombudsman. Perhaps the alert that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Queensland should have rung bells with this government—but it has not. Three in four Queensland businesses surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Queensland believe the carbon tax will have a negative effect on their business. Eighty-four per cent of those surveyed urged the scrapping of the carbon tax. These small businesses are not looking for a handout. They are looking for some support and some encouragement. They are looking for someone who is looking out for them. Perhaps this is the time to remind this Labor government that it is long past time for a small business minister to be in cabinet, a minister that will have a role and an important contribution to make at important decision-making times when the big cabinet table need small business represented, not sent off to the kids' table. It is important that the member for Griffith note this. He was out there advocating for 'new work' and he was told that new work, including work in the small business area, ran against Labor's values. I remember what Kim Beazley said, that 'we never pretended to be a small business party, the Labor Party; we have never pretended that '. By golly, isn't this crowd proving it! (Time expired)