Hockey lashes 'culture of regulation'

By a staff reporter

Shadow Treasuer Joe Hockey has hit out at Australia's "culture of regulation" and said the coalition would place the needs of small business at the centre of its regulation policies.

In an interview with Business Spectator, Mr Hockey said the exorbitant increase in regulations over the past five years had changed the nature of engagement between the public and private sector.

"A lot of regulation, particularly out of Treasury agencies like ASIC and the ACCC and some others, that has focussed on...designing regulation for big business, for the businesses that can get in the door in Canberra, for the businesses that have enormous legal departments and compliance departments and human resources departments and so on, whereas a small business in Australia doesn’t have all of that.  

"And therefore the benchmark for regulation should be a small business and not a big business for the generic business regulation in Australia."

Mr Hockey conceded the Coalition had been "as guilty as Labor on this".

He said Tony Abbott's announcement he would move small business into the Treasury portfolio was emblematic of the party's commitment to addressing over-regulation, though he did not commit to removing Martin Parkinson as Treasury Secretary.

"Well, I’m reluctant to, I must say, because ultimately the forecasts that are published belong to the Treasurer," Mr Hockey said.

"His name was on the front of the document and the Minister for Finance."

While non-commital on action within the first six months of a coalition government, Mr Hockey said within a first-term the coalition would review the competition rules, with a focus on  equality of opportunity for small business.

"So, that will be part of the more general review into the competition laws," he said.

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Another politician with an Arts/Law degree who know ll there is about small business. Oh please - therr's enough of those in the labor Party.
Joe you might look at why the small business must pay the same 30% tax rate on the first dollar of profit same as the big companies pay on the 1 billion and one dollar of profit. There should be a tax free threshold and graduated tax and or replace requirement of depreciation over many years with instant write off for small businesses.
As a part owner of a small business, we are winding down due to the excessive regulations and will probably end up winding the business up in the next financial year. But I must add it is not only we SMEs that are struggling, the large multinationals we deal with are struggling also. It seems Australia is now a rule by regulation country compared to many other nations.
Elected politicians need to realise that the 'advice' and 'briefings' that are delivered by the public service are often self-interested and not at all representative of what happens outside government. There is a public service culture of resentment against small business in which small business people are seen as 'getting away' with various benefits and somehow having an advantage over those same public servants. Superannuation is an example in which small businesses effectively pay both sides of the cost yet cannot use that money for sensible investments such as accommodation. All the arguments that I heard were driven by public servants saying if they couldn't have that benefit, then why should small business? Public servants have a disproportionate say in our affairs and a distorted understanding of our needs. Until we wake up to the bias introduced by this third player in Australian life, we are likely to continue to have government policies that are entirely out of step with social and business needs.
I would be interested to hear what regulation specifically is being referred to, surely not Health and Safety rules after recent building collapses in dangerous buildings used as factories in Asia. Surely not Development Planning and Building regulations either. Is a free for all being suggested for this area of activity, ripping whole suburbs to shreds? Or is it being suggested that landlords have total free reign - including deciding whether or not to maintain their investment properties that they have rented out - often at exorbitant rents? What about GST? - again surely not, since this was an initiative of the Coalition in government, and could probably be abandoned now - with bipartisan support involving a large section of the Labor Caucus. I'd certainly support dumping that monster. Much regulation is used to protect consumers from poorly constructed and dangerous products. I doubt if we would want to remove that, abolishing guarantees and consumer rights. So what is it all about? What then does it all come down to - and how much of the complained about regulation is Federal anyway? Truly, I'm asking. We hear the mantra of "too much regulation" again and again but all too often it seems to come down to a desire to pay crap - and often "casual" wages to persons working in an unpleasant and unsafe environment and able to be sacked at the passing whim of an employer with a bad toothache. Much of life's complexity comes from the operation of the commercial market. How about - for example - passing a regulation demanding that mobile phone carriers must offer a simple line fee and user pays per call plan, instead of the present complex nonsense. This would stop the wroughts in that industry. How about regulating the charges for excess broadband use to being not more than the price per Gb in the particular plan? All too many of the complexities people complain about are in the fine print of contracts - and not in "Government Regulation". In fact regulation might even help - how about illegalising any connection between a tenants till and the building owner's central computer, pulling the plug on the monitoring used to plan rent increases. Not all "regulation " is bad
The irony of our so-called democracy is that we actually have very few freedoms. Labor philosophy has always been about centralising decision making in bureaucrats that have no real world experience. There has been something like 20,000 new regulations introduced since Labor came to office 5 years ago. I do not know exactly what each is and am certain that some are worthy. But 20,000 is a ridiculously high number and suggests that we are rapidly careering toward becoming a nanny state.
Phil, not all regulation is bad, just most of it. In most cases it does not work as intended or has dire unintended consequences in other areas. There is no doubt in my mind that government in general will always try and regulate/control the masses, with the end result being an immediate feeling of comfort, but then reality hits and we realise that what we have really done is trade our freedom for the latest thing we have collectively whinged about. We traded freedoms under Howard when we demanded the government do something about terrorism, we have lost freedoms under the guise of "safety" (the unions love "safety" because it is the only semblance of relevance they have), and every time someone says "there ought to be a law against that", they are really asking for the government to get bigger. A bigger government always needs feeding, with the end result being more taxes, less freedom, and Moscow on your own doorstep. Most of the issues you raise Phil would be sorted with a more informed and disciplined consumer, but that raises the whole issue of the dumbing down of our education system as we turn out pure, unthinking consuemers. With too much regulation, people do not invest, businesses don't make money and therefore don't employ, which equals less tax revenue, more unemplyment, lower living standards and generally a downward spiral. I actually think Hockey is on to something here. I just hope he does it so it becomes attractive for me to employ again in my small business.