Released 12th August 1998
One Nation acknowledges small business is a major employer in Australia and therefore policies affecting small business have a direct impact on employment levels.
One Nation believes laws and procedures affecting small business should not compensate for incompetence; rather they should be structured to encourage new business, to support existing business, to facilitate small business expansion, to ensure fair competition and to provide as much protection as practical from the unscrupulous.
Small business is defined as:
Enterprises with less than 20 employees in all industries except manufacturing where they have less than 100 employees, and agriculture where they have an estimated value of agricultural operations of between $22 500 and $400 000.
One: Small Business is the major employer in Australia and is the cornerstone of Australian communities and the economy, particularly in rural and regional areas.
Two: Governments have a responsibility to encourage and protect small business, while recognising the need for competition and free enterprise. Small businesses will be given preference over big businesses.
Three: Australian businesses will be favoured by government and through policy over multinational and foreign owned businesses.
Four: Small business employers and employees have rights and responsibilities; neither the exploitation of workers by employers nor the use of restrictive work practices favouring employees are in the interests of either group or Australia.
Five: Small businesses are an integral part of the lives of their owners - family involvement, the common practice of using the family home to finance small businesses and the treatment of the business as a basis for planning retirement income are factors which must be acknowledged when determining legislation and regulations affecting small business.
Six: Small business ventures carry inherent risk - a level of risk not required of small business employees, employees in general and shareholders of publicly listed companies.
The Howard governments GST will be opposed if it fails to address the fundamental flaw in the present tax structure in Australia multinationals and major corporations are minimising tax at the expense of PAYE taxpayers, pensioners, retirees and small business owners.
Capital Gains Tax.
Capital gains tax will be abolished except where a business is sold within two years of purchase. (est. $1.6 billion)
Tax Collection and Garnishing Wages.
Small business will be compensated by tax relief, a rebate or similar for its ongoing role in collecting and disbursing tax, collecting and disbursing garnisheed wages for child support and other agencies, collecting and disbursing superannuation and other imposts on behalf of government.
Fringe Benefit Tax.
Fringe benefit tax will be abolished (est. $3.3 billion).
Wholesale Sales Tax.
Wholesale sales tax is to be levied at the same taxing point on an item by item basis for both independent retailers and major supermarket chains. The present tax advantage enjoyed by the major chains, whereby they pay tax at the manufacturers gate while small independents pay tax at the wholesale warehouse gate will be stopped.
Tariffs or quotas on imports will be re-introduced to enable Australian industry and business to compete with foreign products without having to reduce our wages or standard of living to those of third world countries. See Manufacturing policy.
The important role unions have played in Australia and the continuing need for workers to have access to assistance to negotiate their wages and conditions is recognised; membership of unions will continue to be voluntary.
Enterprise Bargaining. Award wages and conditions will continue to underpin enterprise bargaining. Employees require adequate representation by unions, themselves or their nominees when enterprise bargaining. They must be protected from the pressure of low cost labour available from recent immigrants from countries with lower living standards than our own.
Employment Advertising. Employers have the right to advertise specifically for the person they wish to employ. Racial discrimination will not be tolerated.
Dismissal Laws. Employers have the same right to dismiss an employee as the employee has to leave the employer, except in the case of unconscionable conduct by the employer. Present unfair dismissal laws will be re-drafted to limit penalties which can be awarded in court.
Employee Protection - Business Bankruptcy. Action will be taken to ensure employees entitlements are met before those of any other creditor in the event a business is bankrupt. Subject to further review legislation will be introduced to protect employees of small businesses; employees of big business or foreign owned companies will be protected by the introduction of compulsory insurance or the use of a compulsory trust fund. The order of priority for payment on the receivership or liquidation of a business will be: employees, Australian Tax Office, secured creditors, unsecured creditors and owners or directors of the business in receivership.
Sub-contractors and suppliers of products in industries such as building will be protected by the introduction of measures which will provide security of payment for goods and services. Options being considered include:
Market forces will control the retail tenancy rent levels and lease conditions of the original lease agreement.
Lessors will be required to disclose all rental and associated charges, renewal, termination and lessee business sale conditions before a lease is signed.
Rent increases and decreases in the term of a lease will be linked to the CPI only. Existing leases will be subject to this condition from the date this change is legislated or regulated.
When a business is sold, the lease is to provide for the transfer of the lease to the incoming business owner with a release clause for the outgoing owner; lessors will not be permitted to charge a fee for profit to offer a new lease, nor may they unreasonably withhold consent to a change of tenant.
Lessors will not be permitted to discriminate between anchor (large) and minor tenants by allowing discount of more than 20% of rent per metre to anchor tenants.
The cost of training employees will be recognised by:
Apprentices. Employers will be encouraged to employ apprentices - see Education and Vocational Training Policy.
Submissions will be called for the reduction of government imposed red tape.
Wherever federal legislation and regulation allows, the requirement for reporting, licensing, regulation and compliance will be streamlined and minimised.
Peoples Bank. Government will take steps to establish a bank (the "Bank of Australia" ), for the people of Australia, thereby providing a peoples bank which will be a source of low interest loans and favourable conditions to encourage small business.
Inventors. Inventors will be encouraged to develop their ideas and to initiate ventures within Australia through the availability of venture and research funds at low interest or, if possible, through grants available on a competitive basis subject to project assessment and potential profit and market reaction.
EFTPOS. Legislation will be considered to address the inequity of the costs of credit and EFTPOS transactions paid by small business compared to big business.
Bank Closures. Banks will be called upon to make submissions outlining the factors which determine their decisions to close branches, including minimum daily transaction volumes and profit levels. Subject to the results of those submissions, legislation will be introduced requiring banks to retain branches in rural and regional Australia based on proscribed minimum levels of profit and turnover and the effect on bank profit overall. The opening of branches of the "Bank of Australia", combined with the option of using Australia Post offices as bank agencies will help redress previous damage to small towns caused by closure of local bank branches.
Action will be taken to:
Deregulation. Regulation will be retained for pharmacies, retail fuel outlets and newsagents. Legislation will be introduced to enable producers and growers to supply segments of the food industry such as butchers, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetable retailers through local markets once again.
Trading hours. Trading hours will be regulated to advantage small business over big business while recognising community expectations and specific commercial needs such as tourism.
National Competition Policy. The National Competition Policy will be abolished. It is viewed as a flawed pre-cursor to the Multi-Lateral Agreement on Investment. The Policy is presently being encouraged through gross misuse of incentive funds to state and local governments. It is not in the interest of small businesses and their local and regional communities because it inhibits a buy local philosophy.
Quality Assurance. Legislation will be introduced to repeal quality assurance provisions. What was originally a positive idea has become a disincentive and barrier to small business, particularly sole operators and those with few administrative staff by limiting their capacity to obtain government contracts. It favours the training industry and larger businesses over the needs of small businesses in general.
Market Dominance. The Trade Practices Act will be reviewed in relation to market dominance within key sections of the economy by major retailers and, following a parliamentary inquiry, a cap will be established on their market share.
Large Shopping Centres. A national model will be established to provide a socio-economic impact test which can be used by state and local government when considering applications for new shopping centres.