Last week we commented that the passing of one chunk of the Loophole Bill was a victory for common sense. Boy was that a doozey of a mis-comment! With more information the Senate ‘event’ needs to be seen as a massive double-cross. Yes, a blind-siding of the Australian people, particularly small business people and the independent Senators and MPs in Parliament. Here’s why.
We based last week’s comments on a media release put out by Senator David Pocock (Senator for the ACT) who detailed what had been passed. This included the OHS items of the Loophole Bill and the labour hire provisions. It was common sense to pass the OHS issues and (maybe) the labour hire bits. But here’s the kicker!
Senator Pocock just happened not to mention that he also pushed through provisions for a massive escalation of union powers to enter and control any business in Australia. Staggering! We’ve never seen anything like this. On our assessment, union reps now become de facto political commissars implanted in Australian businesses, including very small businesses.
Are we exaggerating? Here’s what the doyen of Australian business commentary, Robert Gottliebsen, said this week. He called the move:
- …an unprecedented attack on the more than 900,000 family businesses that employ people.
- …the biggest change in business capitalism for a generation…
He explains that:
- The legislation provides that for any family business that employs people (starting with only one person), and has in its ranks a union member, the union will have the power to declare that person a delegate.
That person will have the power to:
- …manage a set of union rules that govern the way they [the business person/s] conduct their business.
And how did this happen? Simple. The Albanese government needs two independent Senators to vote for its Loophole Bill and it passes. Gottliebsen says:
- In my view, independent senators David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie double-crossed Australia’s family businesses in allowing the attack on family business legislation to be passed suddenly on December 6 when people had been told these and other issues were part of a Senate inquiry and would be debated early next year.
- In particular Pocock, who set himself up as a true independent and an advocate for family business, turned out to be simply a Trojan horse.
We totally agree with Robert Gottliebsen. In our view, Senator Pocock has just trashed his reputation as a true independent and advocate for small business. The faith and trust we had in taking part in the consultations conducted over months with Senator Pocock have been blown apart. We feel betrayed and abused.
We will have MUCH more to say about this. But at this stage we can only assume that Senator Pocock will (in our view) shaft every small business in Australia as soon as Parliament resumes in February next year.
The balance of the Loophole Bill still to be passed includes a ‘package’ of legislative attacks against Australian small business people the likes of which have never been seen or attempted before. You’ll be familiar with how we’ve explained this in our detailed analysis of the Loophole Bill over 2023.