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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 6794


Mr JOHNSON (9:49 PM) —Today is 22 June 2009. This is a very significant date for me and my wife and my family because it marks the third birthday of my little son Ryan Andrew Johnson, who is the light of my life. I just want to say publicly in the parliament of Australia ‘happy birthday’ to my own son, as well as all those Australians who might be sharing a birthday today.

But of greater significance is what I want to talk about today in the parliament—that is, small and medium-sized businesses and private endeavour. I want to talk about this because small businesses and medium-sized businesses are the engine rooms of our economy. I want to bat for them because I do not think the federal Labor government is batting for the small and medium-sized businesses of Australia. They are certainly not batting for the small businesses and the medium-sized businesses of the Ryan electorate, which I have the great privilege to represent. These small businesses across the landscape of Australia represent millions of Australians. We should be saluting them; we should be making their case as easy as possible. Not only do they employ millions of Australians and generate wealth for their employees, they also are the fabric of our community.

As a member of the Liberal Party, I want to state for the record again so that my constituents are aware of this, and to remind the leadership of our party, that we are the party of wealth creation. We are all about wealth creation and generation, not just about wealth redistribution. We want to make it very clear to all those who might be considering their vote at the next election that bureaucracy does not create wealth. It is private endeavour, it is small business, it is medium-sized businesses, it is those Australians who put their energies and talents into creating ideas and opportunities in the commercial sector who create wealth. So we must be doing all we can to help them. We must be advocates for low taxes and we must be advocates for making the cost of doing business as low as it can possibly be.

We know that in the current international climate that there are all kinds of economic challenges. But we also know that in this country the Rudd Labor government is certainly not making things better. We now have the situation in this country where our children will be facing considerable financial pressure when they are taxpayers. My little three-year-old, when he is a taxpayer, will undoubtedly be facing a different kind of economy. He will be a taxpayer making enormous personal sacrifices in whatever endeavour that he happens to be in, but certainly as a taxpayer of Australia he will need to play a part in contributing to the reduction of the deficit and the debt that this Labor government is leaving our country in the future.

I want to draw the attention of the parliament to and salute all those who work for small and medium-sized businesses. I want to draw particular attention to a gentleman by the name of Scott Driscoll, the National Executive Director of the Retailers Association. In my dealings with him, I have certainly found him to be a crusader for all his members in the Retailers Association. He is an advocate of the small business sector and we should salute, acknowledge and pay tribute to all those who are prepared to stand up and make the tough comments in the public arena about governments, whether state or federal, regardless of political persuasion. Let me say it again: at the end of the day it is not the bureaucracy that creates wealth; it is not the Public Service that generates jobs; it is mums and dads in Australia who engage in business and employ people. Whether a local corner shop or a family business at home, they create wealth for the community. So I salute the National Retailers Association and Scott Driscoll, the national executive director. We need more organisations like the National Retailers Association and we certainly need more people like Scott Driscoll. They are the ones who remind both the government of the day and the opposition of the day that small and medium-sized businesses fight for the jobs of their employees.

The opposition will continue to stand by the side of small and medium-sized businesses. We know that throughout the country these businesses are doing it tough, and they certainly do not need to see this government in power for a day longer than necessary. The people in the western suburbs of Brisbane, in the Ryan electorate, are certainly very sceptical about this government’s policies on small and medium-sized businesses. (Time expired)