Response to Mark Latham’s rant about small business people.


By admin . On 31-May-2015


Odd comments from a failed politician – a piece by Peter Strong CEO

In the AFR of 30 May 2015 Mark Latham has a column entitled The God of Small Business. The article is written in Latham’s normal style which in this case is bile infested comments and insults directed at small business people. Should this article be taken seriously or not?

Latham has a reputation for saying bizarre and offensive things and probably only has a column to force responses from suitably aggrieved and offended people (which I am of course doing).  His opinions are irrelevant and at worst dangerous.

In the past he has ridiculed mental illness and responses to domestic violence and pretty much enjoys attacking everything and anything and never offering solutions.  He has now decided that small business is over rated and not worth the attention that it currently has from the government, the opposition and many others.  His column attacks the integrity, the intelligence and the capacity of over 2 million Australian men and women who between them employ over 4.5 million other people. He is, oddly, particularly nasty about kebab shop owners. (Note to ML: If you don’t like Kebab shop owners don’t go to a Kebab shop. End Note)

The good news is hardly any small business person would have read the column and those that did would in the main recognise the column for the nonsense that it is. But others would be offended by such rancour. So do we respond with further rancour?  Do we respond in a serious way?  Do we respond with satire? Do we ignore this rubbish?  I feel we must respond in some way.

I have found a very good and balanced response to Latham’s column from DragonBill CEO Luke Hally who runs a small business focused website, see his response HERE. Thanks Luke.

I can now take a different approach.

Interestingly is Latham an employee of the AFR or a contractor?  If he is a contractor then he is a small business and in this case we can only agree with his description of himself, to quote “small businesses are the garden gnomes of the modern economy – purely ornamental and totally dispensable.”  In Latham’s case a true statement, but only in Latham’s case.

Furthermore in his rant he names all the big things that are so vital and that we all love so much to justify his ridicule of all things small: the big banana and other big tourist attractions; big and tall athletes; big TVs; big houses and the like.

So what small things do we need and admire? Modern phones are small, does Latham still walk around with a mobile phone from the 1990s stuck to his ear, a brick like instrument?

Does he use an old fashioned typewriter or does he have a computer with microchips? Does he have access to the internet and email or does he send his articles to the AFR by Australia Post? Does his obviously super-sized TV operate with large diodes and valves? If it did it would indeed be very large.

Athletes come in all sizes.  Those that are tall and large are often cut down by the little rovers and halfbacks on footy fields across the world. The best soccer players seem to be closer to the ground than the average soccer player, Maradona is 1.65m (5’ 5”), Pele is 1.73m (5’ 8”). Size in cricket doesn’t seem to matter that much, Don Bradman was 1.7m (5’ 7”), Tendulkar is 1.65m, Muralitharan is 1.7m. The best sports teams seem to have a mixture of sizes based on what their sport demands.

It is interesting to note that a Melbourne Cup winner was never ridden by a 2 metre tall giant jockey.

Tourist attractions based on small things abound. Hardly anyone dives on the Great Barrier Reef to look closely at sharks, they go to see coral made up of millions of polyps (tiny things) and they marvel at the small beautiful fish that live on and near the coral.  Whales are huge yet the biggest of them cannot live without plankton which is very small indeed.

Politicians come in all sizes. John Howard is 1.76m (5’ 9”) and Mark Latham was much taller but that didn’t stop Howard giving him a good thrashing at the 2004 election.  North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was 1.6m (5’ 3”) as were Gandhi and Khrushchev, (We assume no one called Kim or Khrushchev ‘shorty’ and lived to tell the tale).

In the modern world we need things big and small and also medium.  We need a broad and interesting society where competition between businesses is fair and where the consumer can choose between local kebab shops or a chain.

So if governments want to ignore the intellectually shallow policies espoused by big business and big unions, policies from the 1990s, then good on them, if small business is healthy so is the nation.

Bizarrely Latham talks of people worshiping at shrines for ‘teeny-weeny sized enterprises’.  He obviously prefers the shrines of ‘large argy-bargy’ mines, duopolies, banks and multinationals who give their political parties’ money and attention.

Thankfully, Mark Latham never became Prime Minister. If he had Australia would have been a very different country.  There would be no small businesses.  Mental health would not be discussed and would be hidden from view.  Domestic violence would also be hidden and not discussed. All jobs would be in big business or in government agencies. We would live in a fairy land of misconceptions and 1984 type rules and regulations. We would live in a version of that failed economic experiment called the Soviet Union.  Thank you John Howard for giving Latham that thrashing.

The small things WE like are those coffee shops that make great coffee or the fashion shops with their quirky clothes and footwear, the independent restaurants that have great food and great choice, pharmacies with staff who know who we are and what we need, bookshops that have the books we value, websites that offer just what we want and delivered when we want it. In particular we love a good self managed, self run kebab shop. More power to them and others (particularly Bruce Billson) and less time for the Angry Garden Gnome.

About the author

admin

Feature

  • Change management, employment, the economy and local communities – bring back the CES

    31-Oct We have a national crisis with issues associated with skills and employment.  This includes apprent
  • We have a plan – an energy plan.

    18-Oct COSBOA has welcomed the “Powering Forward” energy plan announced by the government yesterday.
  • State Governments Must Act on Energy Prices to Avoid Economic Crisis

    15-Aug Now we have had time to discuss our national energy price crisis, it’s time to take action. State
  • 2017 Vodafone National Small Business Summit – Registrations Open

    19-May Registrations have now opened for the Vodafone National Small Business Summit, in Melbourne on 23 to
  • COSBOA Communique – Fair & Compliant Workplaces

    04-Apr COSBOA Communique - Fair & Compliant Workplaces On Monday 3 April 2017, COSB
  • Efficiency and Fairness in Workplace Relations Getting Closer

    24-Mar COSBOA today congratulated the government and the Industrial Relations Minister Senator Michaelia Ca
  • Penalty Rate Decision Provides Balance for Small Business on Sundays

    23-Feb COSBOA is pleased to see the creation of equity for employees and employers on Sundays with today’
  • Industry Groups Warn Telco Skills Crisis is Worsening

    09-Feb Communications Day publication recently interviewed Dominic Schipano from member as
  • Submission to Productivity Commission

    27-Jan The Council for Small Business Australia (COSBOA) recently made a submission to the Productivity Com
  • COSBOA Budget Priorities Statement

    23-Jan The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) has released it's Priorities Statement for the 2017
  • Submission to Senate Inquiry

    13-Jan The Council of Small Business Australia recently made a submission to the Senate Economics Legislat
  • We thank you 2016 and welcome 2017 with hope and some fear.

    18-Dec There is no doubt 2016,
  • Superannuation payment system needs fixing – employers not the problem

    05-Dec The Australian Government must rethink the superannuation collection system for small business. By p
  • The self-employed – human rights, equity and fairness

    21-Nov Do the self-employed enjoy the same rights as workers and as others? Perhaps they are mo
  • Who pays for the ruling class to travel business class?

    26-Oct   “Attention please: Passengers in business class please take note there is a person dow
  • Make our roads safer, do not ever compromise safety

    20-Sep Small business in the transport sector under threat from union/big business cartels
  • COSBulletin for August – read it now!

    31-Aug The August edition of the COSBulletin is available - click
  • Will Australia be run by three unions and a handful of big businesses?

    10-Aug Will Australia be run by three unions and a handful of big businesses? To ensure we have
  • Congratulations to Senator Katy Gallagher on the Small Business role

    26-Jul COSBOA today congratulated Bill Shorten on the appointment of Senator Katy Gallagher Peter Strong C
  • Leaders to debate innovation at Vodafone National Small Business Summit

    04-Jul Leaders to debate innovation at Vodafone National Small Business Summit Who are the
  • Business Daily:Make Your Vote Count

    30-Jun COSBOA is quoted in an article on Business Daily on Businesses.com.au today,
  • Vodafone National Small Business Summit in the News

    23-Jun The 2016 Vodafone National Small Busi
  • Over 50% of weekend workers get less than award pay – and it’s legal

    31-May Over 50% of weekend workers get less than award pay - and it's legal (Breaking news - the
  • Marginal Seats and Small Business People – the facts

    20-May As can be seen by the table we have influence in this election.
  • Why we need big business to pay their bills on time

    12-May It is well known that cashflow is the king and queen,
  • COSBOA’s Pre-Budget Wish List…

    03-May COSBOA was invited to submit a
  • COSBOA Response to Superannuation Efficiency and Competitiveness Issues Paper

    29-Apr COSBOA lodged a response to the Superannuation Efficiency and Competitiveness Issues Paper today,
  • Can we resist the old has-beens and embrace real change

    15-Apr The new economy is different: oligopolies beware or begone Here is the
  • Some tax thoughts from some COSBOA members

    11-Apr Most of our members have their views on tax - tax collection,
  • The Velocity of Money – a chance for a simpler tax system?

     Here is an article by Phil Johns the COSBOA Treasurer and the CEO of the National Credit Providers A
  • The Fair Work System needs to be simple and in plain English

    30-Mar Proof that the Fair Work System needs to be simple and in plain English COSBOA not
  • Rod Sims re-appointment augers well for competition

    24-Mar COSBOA and its members are very pleased to see the re-appointment of Rod Sims as Chairman of the ACC
  • A Strong Government Creating Fair Competition

    16-Mar PRESS RELEASE COSBOA today congratulates the Government on their decision to ad
  • Australia is at a crossroads – jobs and living standards are under threat.

    09-Mar Australia is at a crossroads – jobs and living standards are under threat. In a
  • COSBOA Launches the COSbulletin!

    01-Mar COSBOA launched it's new newsletter the COSbulletin yesterday - check it out
  • When two, too big is so big they have no idea what’s happening- aka the Duopoly

    27-Feb Last year Coles admitted to unconscionable conduct against at least 250 companies.  This year Woolw
  • SMART COMPANY: Why unnaturally big is ALWAYS bad for business

    24-Feb Peter Strong's article on why Big Business is bad for business was published today by Smart Comp
  • COSBOA Pre Budget Submission Recommends Changes to Tax & Skills Systems

    17-Feb Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) today released its Pre Budget Submission,
  • A Bellwether – is the government at the behest of big bullies like Wesfarmers?

    02-Feb Recently a group of business representatives met in Tamworth to discuss competition policy.  The me
  • 2016 to start off with a classic battle of big V small – Effects Test

    11-Jan The effects test (strengthening section 46 of the Competition legislation) is the first port of call
  • Have a great Christmas and a profitable healthy 2016

    24-Dec Thanks to everyone for the support in 2015 (you know who you are) and we'll keep the good fight goin
  • The Year that was 2015 – it was pretty good

    19-Dec There is no doubt 2015 was a year of outcomes for the small business people in Australia. In 2015 t
  • Long Service Leave for 3 hours work exceeds belief

    09-Nov There are moves afoot in Victoria to change the nature of long service leave from one of reward for
  • A Smart Petition that will have an Effect

    10-Sep You want competition?  Productivity? 
  • Treasury teamwork handles change better

    05-Aug Is there an emerging team culture in Treasury? There is no question that the last
  • Just for Fun – A Small Business Crossword

    28-Jul Take a break and stretch your mind with our Small Business Crossword! Click
  • Treasurer the Hon. Joe Hockey MP: Tax System needs to be Simplified for Small Business

    17-Jul Federal Treasurer the Hon. Joe Hockey MP addressed the Council of Small Business of Australia’s (C
  • Big Business wrong about section 46 of Harper’s Review

    16-Jul THE COMPETITION DEBATE CONTINUES AT NATIONAL SUMMIT The debate about the fairness
  • Australia Could Learn How to Support Small Business from Europe

     In the closing session of COSBOA’s Vodafone National Small Business Summit today (Thursday 16
  • Mental Health Advocate Awarded 2015 COSBOA Small Business Champion

     The founder of Billie Goat Soap,
  • BILLSON: “We’re on your side”

    15-Jul The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) hosted its first ‘Summit Start Up Party’,
  • Superannuation Governance Changes Should Help Cut Costs for Business

    26-Jun COSBOA welcomes the announcement by Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for the tightening of govern
  • Small Business and the Nation’s Security

    13-Jun COSBOA: Small Businesses are the eyes and ears of our nation The Council of Small Business A
  • Defence Force reserves celebrate Small Business Supporters

    02-Jun COSBOA is very proud to support the Australian Defence Reserves. Our Chairman Paul Nielsen is on the
  • Response to Mark Latham’s rant about small business people.

    31-May Odd comments from a failed politician - a piece by Peter Strong CEO In the AFR of 30 May
  • Why Labor’s small business finance policy works for COSBOA

    26-May Here is a joint Blog from COSBOA's Chairman and CEO. Bill Shorten in his 2015 budget response propo
  • Netflix tax well and good, but it’s time to add GST to overseas purchases

    12-May  Why is Australia determined to protect offshore businesses at the expens
  • Budget extraordinaire shows respect for people in business

     COSBOA is impressed with a ground-breaking 2015 Federal Budget.  The budget inclusions for small bu
  • Our pre-Budget Newsletter

    11-May Please see our thoughts on the budget and other news
  • Good start to the budget count down for small business

    06-May COSBOA today congratulated the government and in particular Minister Bruce Billson on the announceme
  • Vodafone and COSBOA looking at increasing speed and lowering cost of communications

    05-May The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) has announced Vodafone as its major sponsor for the
  • An Investment Allowance for small business will give the economy a good positive Kick

    30-Apr  The Council of Small Business of Australia and the
  • Accountants and bookkeepers will they only exist in science fiction?

    16-Apr Will accountants,
  • Where are we heading with competition policy?

    15-Apr When the report on Competition in Australia (the so called Harper Review) was released we found it 
  • Australian Human Rights Commission reaches out to business

    31-Mar Last week I attended an
  • Linchpins for small business people? There is a growing number.

     Recent positive and constructive announcements from the federal Small Business Minister Bruce Billso
  • Tax White Paper – start-up discussion on a needed process

    30-Mar Reform of the tax system? It is essential to undertake this activity as it is well overdue.  The go
  • We are flying with Flying Solo and their 74,000 micro businesses

    26-Mar COSBOA is pleased to announce that
  • Time for some proactive thinking about tax, employment, training and small business

    24-Mar COSBOA today released a paper that shows how innovative ideas can be used in tandem with traditional
  • Submission to Productivity Commission on Workplace Relations

    20-Mar Inquiry into the Workplace Relations Framework A response from the Council of Small Bus
  • After 40 years a change in contract fairness

     COSBOA congratulates Bruce Billson and the Abbot government on today’s announcement to extend lega
  • Small Business Champion still championing away

    10-Mar Below is a short comment we received from our current small business champion, Kathryn Bordonaro who
  • Tax – it’s all about getting ready for the future

     The Treasurer Joe Hockey recently
  • Renewable Energy Target will renew innovation – let’s do it.

    26-Feb Bruce Billson and Josh Frydenberg and others in this government are on the way to creating a brand n
  • Employer pays $10k for childcare then another $8.8k as punishment? Remove FBT on childcare and Gym membership.

    15-Feb Below is a copy of the media release,
  • Why we need newsagents and community pharmacy to exist

    11-Feb Coles and Woolworths (with the help of text book toting economists remote from reality) are always t
  • Grow and be healthy, Remove FBT on child care and health, make small business company tax 5%

    10-Feb Leading up to the small business package the government is working on as part of the next budget we
  • There is heat in the Workplace Relations Kitchen

    05-Feb The Productivity Commission has released the
  • Any Senate reform needs to be right for people not just big business

    13-Jan Article by Geoff Fader,
  • Unconscionable behaviour demonstrates need for cultural change

    22-Dec Big businesses that dominate a market place need to show responsibility otherwise people suffer and
  • We wish you a healthy wealthy and wise 2015

    20-Dec Thank you everyone for your support during the year.  In 2014,
  • Coles caught out and now plea bargaining

    17-Dec Finally after years of being ignored by the previous administration the ACCC now listens to the comm
  • Competition and productivity still compromised – We should embrace Minister Billson’s vision not engage in academic back tracking

    17-Nov  COSBOA has provided a response to the Draft Report of the Competition Policy Review 201
  • SMALL BUSINESS & AUSTRALIAN BOOK INDUSTRY DEMAND TAX CRACKDOWN FOR OFFSHORE BOOKSELLERS

    11-Nov MEDIA RELEASE Issued by the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) and Council of Small
  • Very happy to help regulators learn how to be regulated

    21-Oct For some time we at 
  • The integrity of the tax system

    17-Oct A post from Peter Strong Executive Officer COSBOA. Below is a message we received from a small bu
  • Generic branding kills productivity and innovation

    24-Sep 
  • Superannuation game changer

    09-Sep Changing the collection process for superannuation saves $billions,
  • Small Business Champion 2014 – Kathryn Bordonaro

    20-Aug Bravo Kathryn!  The bio of Kathryn is below.  The reason Kathryn is our small business champion is
  • We will lead the way, we’re working everyday – latest Song about Small Business people

    15-Aug After twelve months of watching our
  • The small business community has lost a champion – Vale Peter Judkins

    04-Aug The small business community is mourning the passing of one of its greatest supporters,
  • COSBOA commends B20 talks ahead of the NSBS

    23-Jul Small business is seen as the way forward and the key to a healthy world economy by all those who
  • COSBOA response to Competition Policy Review

    22-Jun COSBOA has always held the view that competition policy has failed the small business community.  S
  • What powers do we want for the National Small Business Commissioner?

     Below is our opening statement Please find the response from COSBOA to the Governments discussion p
  • Cost of doing Retail in Australia is about red tape and wages

     See our submission to the Productivity study into the costs of doing retail in Australia -
  • Board of Taxation Response

     GST is annoying and confusing and any FBT issues should rest with the individual who gets the benefi
  • Assessing the 2014 Federal Budget

    13-Jun Assessing budgets is different for small business than big,
  • National Small Business Summit – 7th & 8th August 2014 in Melbourne

    15-May Mark your diaries - It's on again, and it seems like yesterday we were gearing up for the 2013 Summi
  • What has COSBOA achieved? Has there been change?

    26-Apr Our achievements to March 2014   It is a good to sometimes stop and look at what has
  • COSBOA Supports War on Red Tape and Inefficient Compliance

    17-Mar The Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) has congratulated the Federal Government on
  • COSBOA And The Association Specialists – Working together for the good of small business

    24-Jan COSBOA is pleased to announce the appointment of a small business The Association Specialists - to s
  • Commission of Audit Submission – Let’s make things simple.

    02-Jan Below is a copy of COSBOA's submission to the National Commission of Audit -  Summary
  • Review of 2013 – a year of flux

    24-Dec Summary (see full report
  • The height of hypocrisy? Must be the Duopoly.

    20-Dec An article by David Quilty Executive Director The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • A win for competition, innovation, the consumer and common sense

    10-Dec The limiting of discounts from Shopper Dockets to 4 cents is a win for competition. The duop
  • Small Business Task Forces Formed

    01-Dec COSBOA has formed various task forces to assist in policy assessment,
  • Duopoly is also a duopsony – that’s not good

    12-Nov Interestingly a little while ago Coles was pinged by the ACCC for claiming that their bread was made
  • Overregulation Threatens Small Business Lending – Terry Moody President of CAFBA

    27-Oct Don’t punish small business for the excesses of the derivatives market. The Council of Small Busi
  • Increasing productivity is a no brainer – or is it?

    10-Oct The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) and Independent Senator for South Australia,
  • Confidence Comes with Certainty

    08-Sep Today we congratulated the Prime Minister elect, Tony Abbott, on his comprehensive election win.
  • Election 2013 Policy Comparison and Commentary

    01-Sep Small business people vote and there are over 2 million of us who provide jobs and incomes to alm
  • The words to the ‘Red Tape Nation’ Rap

    25-Aug Below are the words to the Rap
  • 2 million business people who employ around 5 million other people – important?

    20-Aug The Members of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) know that the next
  • Article by John Strong on Complexity of Regulation for Small Business People

    19-Aug  The Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences Newsletter Vol.20, No. 4
  • Tax Office talking to small business people through new site

    22-Jul The still newish Australian Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan will be at our
  • Not too late to have small business issues heard!

    09-Jul It’s not too late! There is still time to purchase tickets for our big event of the year – the N
  • Bureaucrats Continue to Ignore Small Business

    08-Jul from Real Estate Institute of Australia 16 Thesiger Court Deakin ACT 2600 Phone 02 6282 4277
  • In the election the small business people will decide the western suburbs of Sydney

    02-Jul The western suburbs of Sydney are a hot bed of self employed people.  There are some 150,
  • The big retail landlords are very different from the smaller landlords – very

    01-Jul Big landlords are very different from other landlords – very   Over many years the Council
  • Can we regulate the regulators? Complete the survey and tell’em!

     Now is the opportunity to get information to the Productivity Commission, and through them the gover