In last night’s budget speech, Joe Hockey spoke extensively of his father’s property business, and made it sound wonderful:
“I, like so many of my colleagues, grew up in a small business family. That small business put a roof over our heads. It paid the bills. It gave all of the family a chance at a better life. Small business is often a family business. A business of brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins, parents and children. And for those who work in a small business, who are not related, well they often become family.”
(The future Treasurer’s experience with small business evidently shaped him so much that upon graduating university he went off to work for major law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.)
Today, the head of the small business lobby described himself as “gobsmacked” and revealed that his sector got “far more” than it lobbied for.
Small business owners are a powerful voting bloc. But the budget’s unchained enthusiasm for the entrepreneurial class makes one wonder if it is, in fact, devoid of the ideological touch that soured last year’s effort.
Most of us probably have warm thoughts towards small businesses — the people who cut our hair and wrap our fish and chips in paper. But the Treasurer’s current small business obsession — and make no mistake, this budget is obsessed with small business — could have less benign effects than putting a smile on the local cafe owner’s face.