Election 2016: Importance of small business votes in determining marginal seats

The Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) is stressing the importance of the votes of small business people in determining who wins marginal seats in the upcoming July 2 election.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA commented on the critical importance that small business will play in this Federal election, where small business people count for large numbers of voters in marginal seats. COSBOA will focus on the small business community being informed on key policy issues, and he warns that transparency should be at the heart of this election.

Commenting on the critical role small business will play in this Federal election, Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, said that small business people count for a great number of voters in marginal seats and that it is critical for these communities to be informed on key policy issues.

“Small business people in electorates across Australia will play a vital part in the election. They make up between 8 percent and 16 percent of voters, on average around 11.7 percent per electorate. This is significant when margins are as low as 0.2 percent for contested seats. There is no denying that the vote of every small business owner and those working for them count,” said Strong.

Small business represents a significant number of voters in marginal seats across Australia. For instance, in the split urban-rural seat of McEwen in Victoria there is a 0.2 percent margin and the small business community makes up 9.4 percent of voters. In New South Wales the seat of Eden-Monaro has a margin of 0.6 percent and small business is 11.3 percent of voters. While in Queensland’s seat of Capricornia the margin is 0.8 percent and small businesses make up 11.6 percent of voters.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of a Federal Election and focusing on the major two parties, but communities need to look to at the individuals who will representing their community and what they stand for,” said Strong.

“Small businesses impact everyone’s day-to-day lives, from local accountants, gyms, cafes and grocers to health practitioners and owner drivers. We need a government with a clear direction that includes key policies to support small business, then the entire community benefits and Australia’s cultural fabric gains strength.”

Communities should not underestimate the importance of being informed on policy when casting a vote, said Strong, as small business drives the economy and supports a diverse culture and to disadvantage this sector would be disastrous.

COSBOA has placed competition, workplace relations, telecommunications, business-to-business communications, health, training, financing and superannuation as the key policy issues that need to be front and centre for small businesses in the upcoming election. Above all else, COSBOA says that transparency should be at the heart of the election.

“There must be an end to secret big union and big business influence on policy and process. It is not just small business people that suffer from covert influence, it’s also medium businesses, non-employing independent contractors and Australian workers. The economy cannot be managed effectively in back rooms and dark places,” warned Strong.


Photo credit: Australian Electoral Commission – Alice Springs

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Chloe Potvin
Chloe Potvin is the former small business editor for Kochie's Business Builders.