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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3043

Senator WALTERS(4.11) —I wonder whether the Minister for Finance really understands the situation at the moment, because small business is actually losing heart.

Senator Siddons —Oh, come on, Senator! We have heard all this before.

Senator WALTERS —No, you have not. Small business is losing heart. Indeed, the owners of one small business told me the other day that, while their employees are entitled to a 17.5 per cent holiday loading, sick pay, three or four weeks holiday and have no capital at risk, et cetera, they were not entitled to any holiday pay at all-indeed, they lost pay when they went on holiday and did not have any income while they were on holiday-did not get any income should they be sick, certainly did not have a 17 1/2 per cent holiday loading and had a considerable amount of money at risk, and as a result they were getting out and had taken jobs as employees so that they would be able to accept all these benefits that employees are able to accept.

I think that the Minister is certainly overlooking the feeling at present abroad in small business. I think the Australian Democrats have underestimated the feeling abroad in small business. I think that is underlined by the misunderstandings that have been spoken about today. We have only to look at the history of the present Prime Minister (Mr Hawke). He tried to run Bourkes store. Look at what happened to that enterprise. It went broke. Then he went on to ACTU-Solo Enterprises Pty Ltd. What happened there? That went broke. Of course, the Australian Council of Trade Unions under him also took up a travel agency business. So he has not got a very good history in the area of business.

Senator Chipp —On a point of order, Madam Temporary Chairman: It is one thing to have to have the whole Senate chamber kept back to hear this moronic nonsense, but it is another thing for you to allow Senator Walters to talk about matters that are totally irrelevant to the clause being debated. If she wants to talk anywhere, let her do it, but let her not hold up 76 senators who have urgent business to do when she and her colleagues from Tasmania have repeated exactly the same point over and over again.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Haines) —There is in fact no point of order. This is a very wide-ranging clause, but I ask Senator Walters to confine her question to the Minister to specifics within the clause, given that we have been on this clause for some hours.

Senator WALTERS —Thank you, Madam Temporary Chairman. Of course, Senator Chipp is well aware that there is no point of order. I ask the Minister whether he is really aware of the despondency in small business about the present situation. Can he please explain to us what will happen if so many others take the action that small business groups are already taking?

Question put:

That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Messner's amendment) be left out.