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The Experts

SMEs reaction to our new PM

Tim Reed
November 04, 2015

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It’s been just under two months since Malcolm Turnbull became Australia’s 29th prime minister after beating Tony Abbott in a dramatic leadership ballot. It’s not news that this historic act increased the Liberals’ popularity amongst the nation, almost immediately. Just one week after Turnbull was sworn in, the Federal Government recorded a significant jump in the opinion polls, with an election-winning lead over Labor, 51 percent to 49 percent.

As the voice for over 1.2 million small businesses enterprises (SMEs), we wanted to understand whether this sentiment translated to our small business community; the engine room of Australia, and some of the hardest working people in the country. We went out and asked over 400 small business owners the impact, if any, the recent change in prime minister had on their perception of the government’s support towards SMEs. 

The overall impact of the change in prime minister was seen as positive to SMEs with 35 percent noting their impressions of the government had improved since Turnbull came to office.

This came down to two things;

Firstly, SMEs rise and sink with the broader tides. Over the past couple of months, there has been a steady increase in general business confidence. According to a National Australia Bank survey in September, business confidence index jumped from 1 point in August – its lowest level since mid-2013 to 5 points in September. SMEs live off consumer spending and big business, and with the steady improvement of business conditions and confidence, this has had a positive multiplier effect on small business owners.

Secondly, SMEs have considered Turnbull a reliable and consistent politician for years. The feedback we’ve received from our conversations with small business owners reinforces Turnbull as a prime minister with a fresh message and unique perspective. Turnbull speaks about what is required for a robust SME community; entrepreneurialism, innovation and a thirst for technology and learning. 

Turnbull’s rise to the nation’s top job has given Australia’s business confidence a well needed shot in the arm. The test now is whether the prime minister can translate his popularity into tangible reform, that will drive the Australian economy and fuel further success in one of the most industrious groups of Australia – the small business sector.

Published: Thursday, November 05, 2015


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