Business in Australia is scared of being attacked by the equivalent of a wounded bull — the Gillard government.
That’s a key reason why business confidence has not responded to lower interest rates in the same way as the stock market and consumer confidence have risen.
It’s true that business confidence is affected by many forces other than fear of the current government but Gillard apprehension is close to the top of the list.
As business sees it, the opinion polls are predicting a huge Abbott win so a vast number of Labor MP’s fear that this will be their last chance for a long time to look after their union mates and promote the so called “labour values” and the ‘right thing’. That’s a euphemism for attacking business and the middle class in the name of attacking the rich.
Here at Business Spectator we can monitor reader response to commentaries and news stories and for the last few months business interest in political events is higher than we have seen for the last five years apart from election/budget spikes.
If the coalition wins the September election I believe we will see a surge in business confidence and a much stronger 2014 economy.
Business feels a great sense of unease when it sees relations between Treasury and the Treasurer break down (Five fractures in Swan's treasured friendship, March 4).
The government’s financial hole has been dug partly because of lower mining income but also because it spent money from the mining tax that was never there and spent carbon tax money without taking into account a later decision to effectively halve the carbon tax.
Business apprehension is intensified when it sees that instead of fixing the gaps in industrial relations legislation, the Gillard government is making it easier for unions to enter work places. The miners are the hardest hit by this.
In the commercial building industry the government is trying to block state government efforts to reduce costs by 20 to 25 per cent .
And to further lift costs the Gillard government is looking to toughen 457 visa entries with the mining companies the hardest hit. Union power is multiplied just when projects are close to completion.
Now we are going to make it tougher for Australia to match the US in energy costs by restricting shale development. The government is going to the green vote as well as the unions.
It is are getting tougher on independent contracting, and small business regulation seems to grow every day.
Then of course there is the attack on the media industry.
Under traditional labour values people should have similar retirement incomes, so it is are threatening to take a machine gun to those who have saved via superannuation retirement under government rules. And that attack is being based on “subsidy” sums, which are blatantly wrong because a mathematical mistake was not picked up (How Treasury mucked up its super sums, February 8).
And what is next? Fear of the unknown is the deepest emotion and hardest to deal with.
It is also true that forces outside a fear of the wounded Gillard government attacking business are affecting confidence.
We are looking down the barrel of a huge fall in mining investment in 2015 which will affect vast number if businesses. The high dollar makes life very tough for tourism, education and manufacturing.
Consumers might be more confident but that confidence is not being reflected in retail spending.
First homebuyers are not major players in the housing market. I could go on.
It's true productivity has improved but I think that is caused by worker retrenchment and not fundamental changes in the way business is conducted which would require capital investment.
Let’s hope business fears are wrong.