Page 1833 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.08): I am delighted to be able to speak about small business here in the ACT Assembly. I think it is widely recognised in our community that small business is central to the philosophy of the Liberal Party and everything it encompasses in the sense of enterprise and people getting out there and having a go.

Mr Barr: You’ve got the memo too. Eighteen times in this speech?

Mr Rattenbury: Have a go.

Mr Barr: Have a go, Jeremy.

MR HANSON: I certainly will have a go. I am delighted that those opposite in the Labor Party and the Greens are now repeating the messages being put forward by the Liberal Party. That is a great thing. I hope they acknowledge the great work that has been done by the Liberal Party locally. I hope they decide it is time to let small business have a go. Let us hope we will see that from those opposite. I hope they share with me the view that small business really is in so many ways the driver of our economy, both nationally and locally. For millions of people across Australia, for thousands and thousands of people here in Canberra, supporting small business has to be something that is central to us.

We know that in the ACT the growth of small business, supporting small business, is more important now than ever. The sad reality is that we do not want to be beholden to the public service. I am a strong advocate for the Australian public service. I would never endorse the comments made by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that we would want to see a meat axe taken to the Australian public service. I think they were despicable comments. We certainly condemned them at the time; it is disappointing that they were not condemned by the local Labor Party.

After the 14,500 jobs that were cut by Kevin Rudd and then the couple of thousand more by the federal Liberal Party, we have to make sure we have policies in the ACT and nationally that support small business. That is where jobs growth will come from. Jobs, jobs, jobs—that is what this is about. Jobs will be created in this economy through small business. That is not to ignore the role of the university sector and larger businesses or, as I said, the public service. But if we want to get jobs going in this town, particularly for youth, particularly for people perhaps with less education, it is small businesses that are more agile, small businesses that get out there and create growth in our economy.

We need growth in our economy. We know this is a government that is cutting hospital beds. We know this is a government that is cutting resources for police. It is not putting nurses into special schools where they need to go. We need to make sure it is a growing economy that can pay the bills.

In the Liberal Party, this is, as I said, central to our beliefs. We have a shadow minister for small business, Andrew Wall. I look forward to hearing him speak shortly. Andrew Wall comes from small business. Mr Wall is someone who is passionate about small business. Across the opposition benches you will not find a member who does not share these views.

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