Key targets for business lobby

Chris Bowen

Chris Bowen

Treasurer, 40

Member for McMahon, NSW

Bowen went from backbencher July with the return of Kevin Rudd as PM. Before his stint as immigration minister served as minister for financial services and superannuation.

His recent pre-election fiscal outlook re-inforced the government’s emphasis on building up the non-mining sector as the resources boom fades.

He has elected not to cut spending this year or next and to postpone a return to surplus until 2016-17. He holds a bachelor of economics from the University of Sydney.

Joe Hockey

Shadow treasurer, 48 Member for North Sydney, NSW Hockey has held his shadow Treasurer portfolio for more than four years. Unusually, he enjoys a bigger public profile than the incumbent Treasurer Chris Bowen, who has been in the job less than two months.

A former financial lawyer, then a Howard government minister, Hockey’s past portfolios included financial services and small business.

He has called the end of the ‘‘age of entitlement’’ and is campaigning heavily on the need for Australia to live within its means – with flagged spending cuts including a smaller public service and deferring the rise in super to 12 per cent for two years.

David Bradbury

Assistant Treasurer, 37 Member for Lindsay, NSW Western Sydney stalwart David Bradbury has been on the government’s frontline in the battle to reign in profit shifting and tax dodging by big multinationals. He cut his way to politics via a stint as senior associate with corporate law firm Blake Dawson and two terms as the Mayor of Penrith. He clings to a tiny margin of 1.1 per cent in his seat. While he has laid the groundwork for cuts to the $1,000 GST-free threshold for online goods, he has been accused of delaying action on the issue until after the election.

Gary Gray

Minister for resources and energy, tourism and small business, 55 Member for Brand, WA Gray landed his first job in the resources sector fresh out of high school, working at his local BHP steelworks in South Australia. After electioneering for the Labor party in the NT, he landed a spot on the executive team at Woodside Energy after campaigning against a 2001 Shell takeover on the company’s behalf. Elected in 2007, he picked up the energy and resources portfolio from Martin Ferguson in March. He said improving Australia’s economic productivity was central to its growth as a country.

Bernie Ripoll

Parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer and for small business, 47 Member for Oxley, QLD Ripoll entered Australian politics in 1998, after reclaiming the seat of Oxley for Labor from Pauline Hanson. Before entering politics, he worked as an electrician and served in the Royal Australian Air Force. He spent almost five years as chairman of the parliamentary joint committee for corporations and financial services, where he led the 2009 inquiry into collapsed financial planning firm Storm Financial. This paved the way for landmark reforms in the sector, including a ban on all commission payments for advisors.

Mathias Cormann

Shadow assistant treasurer and shadow minister for financial services and superannuation, 42 Senator, WA Born in Belgium, Cormann emigrated to Perth in 1996 and joined the Liberal Party soon after.

Rising quickly through the WA Liberal Party ranks, he was an adviser to premier Richard Court then federal Justice minister Chris Ellison, and later worked as a senior executive at health fund HBF.

He joined the Senate in 2007 and has held the assistant treasurer, financial services and superannuation portfolios for three years.

Ian Macfarlane

Shadow minister for energy and resources, 58 Member for Groom, Qld One of 16 former Howard government ministers on the Abbott front bench, Macfarlane held the resources portfolio for six years until the Coalition lost power in 2007, in a period that included the kick-off of Australia’s resources boom.

A former farmer in Queensland’s Burnett region, before entering parliament in 1998 Macfarlane was a successful ‘‘agripolitician’’ at the Grains Council and the National Farmers Federation.

He has been cautious on the contentious issue of coal-seam gas, warning the industry that it must secure community support for its expansion.

Bruce Billson

Shadow minister for small business, competition policy and consumer aff airs, 47 Member for Dunkley, VIC Billson, a former junior minister in the Howard government, has the job of selling Tony Abbott’s determined pitch to small business owners, which includes a promise to elevate the portfolio into cabinet and to appoint small business representatives on the boards of Taxation, the ACCC and the Fair Work Commission.

Before entering parliament, he worked in senior positions at the shire of Hastings, then as a Kennett government adviser.

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