Despite small businesses employing more Australians than any other business block we receive less attention from our politicians. This is in part our own fault driven by disconnected representation and a lack of unity on issues.
One way to redress the disconnect between small business and politicians would be to require every politician, federal and state, to spend a week a year working in a small business in their electorate – paid real work.
The business should be chosen by random ballot – to remove the opportunity for mates looking after mates.
Besides the practical work experience, the politicians would gain a better understanding of the life and challenges of everyday Australians.
I am confident that after a couple of years we would see this small business work experience program drive a more practical narrative from politicians of all sides- and not just a small business focused narrative but one also more connected with real life.
We can’t compete with the lobbyists who are paid a fortune to guide our politicians to outcomes they want. Hence my call for a legislated week of small business work every year for every politician.
Imagine what discussions about paid parental leave, GST changes, assistance for the car industry or workplace relations changes would be like in the cabinet room if everyone at the table had done a week of real work in a small business beforehand. They would have reference points relevant not only to our small businesses but also to our employee colleagues, their constituents.