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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 2439

Senator RYAN (Victoria) (13:58): I would like to draw the chamber and the public's attention to a couple of facts that will be uncomfortable for the government as it conducts its war on the small business community in Australia. I would like to start with a quote from the former leader of the Labor Party in July 2000 on 6PR radio in Perth where Mr Kim Beazley, leader at the time, said:

... we have never pretended to be a small business party, the Labor Party, we have never pretended that.

They do not need to pretend, because the facts speak for themselves. Since Labor was elected in 2007, over 300,000 jobs have been lost in the small business sector. Operating costs are at a 10-year high. The number of small businesses going bankrupt jumped by 48 per cent in the last 12 months.

What we heard on radio this morning in Melbourne was one of the great frauds that is propagated by this government about the superannuation increase. They like to allege that the mining tax is somehow going to pay for a superannuation increase for small businesses and all workers in Australia. The truth is that it does not. Every employer is going to pay that. As we found out at the doors and as we found out from Minister Shorten on radio 3AW this morning, it means lower wages and higher operating costs. But, even more importantly, something that the Labor Party does not want to tell small business is that only one in nine small businesses will ever see this so called tax cut. Out of 2.7 million small businesses, only 720,000 operate as companies and under 300,000 pay company tax. This particular fraud is immediately apparent to the small business community of Australia, and they will not buy Labor's fraudulent policies.

Debate interrupted.