FROM THE TANK: THE CLOCK IS TICKING, TIME TO ACT

Written on the 18 July 2016 by Dr Glen Richards

FROM THE TANK: THE CLOCK IS TICKING, TIME TO ACT SCRAPING back into power by the smallest margins is simply a symptom of bad politics, bad governing and a lack of engagement with the electorate.

Malcolm Turnbull has enjoyed a number of successful careers - law, banking, investing, journalism - and can now add Prime Minister of Australia as his most successful vocation.

He has nothing to lose, except government, so now is the time to do some of the politics needed to set this country up for sustained growth and prosperity.

The people have voted and have sent a clear message. It is going to be a challenging and exciting time for Australian politics but the concern is whether a small group hold the country to ransom. 

The houses of parliament need to get work done and as voters we want a secure, prosperous future and our wonderful lifestyle maintained. Some politicians will want to horse trade and annoy parliamentary process, but at the end of the day, one would hope robust debate and collective wisdom will see our politicians being smart enough to adopt a more bipartisan approach. This new crop of politicians, who have found themselves on the crossbench, seem to come from real Australia with real life experiences that hopefully will help them positively contribute.

The reality is Mr Turnbull and the government need to engage with real Australia and spend time engaging, educating and inspiring the crossbench to support key nation building initiatives and policies that help get this country back on the road to recovery.

The crossbench need to be open to supporting the government without playing too hard in trading horses so 'shit' gets done over the next three years. It was good to see Derryn Hinch promising to be open and play straight and fair in a recent interview; hopefully he influences the rest of the crossbench to do so too.

It is time for Mr Turnbull to be a real politician and navigate the current bewildering political landscape to deliver on behalf of all the 'centralists' across Australia (many of us come from this category of reasonable human beings). It is now time to deliver economic and social platforms that continue to deliver the lifestyle we have grown accustomed as we live within our means (that is, no budget deficit).

This can only be achieved through fostering and nurturing an environment that supports business to efficiently produce goods and deliver services as well as to invest, expand, employ, innovate and educate in the competitive global economy. 

Key initiatives should be to fix federalism and the state funding model. Then, simplify and lower taxes - personal, company, payroll and stamp duties offset by broadening or increasing in GST. This should be followed by lower regulations - reduce red tape and the size of government and public service. Last but certainly not least, we need to be offering incentives for companies to attract, develop and upskill their workforce as well as promote productivity initiatives that allow employees to participate in the risk and reward of business without paying disproportionate amounts away in tax.

Embark on social programs that engage the youth, support the genuinely disadvantaged and see our education system develop as our most competitive advantage in the global economy. Promote proactive programs on health and the environment that see our society embrace wellness - personal and planet - as mainstream philosophy.

Entrepreneurs exponentially change the way we live, be it through research, innovations, employment, commerce and/or social good. The businesses they establish and the commerce that spins off successful enterprise deliver a wealthy society and affordable social programs. It is therefore all about fostering a proactive business environment. 

Get on with it Mr Turnbull, you have three short years and hopefully more if you are willing to act.

Dr Glen Richards joined resident Sharks Steve Baxter (internet pioneer), Janine Allis (Boost Juice), Andrew Banks (Talent2), and Naomi Simson (RedBalloon) for season two of the Network Ten series Shark Tank Australia. Follow 'From the Tank' - Business News Australia's Think Tank - for Richards' views on everything from private equity to IPOs and politics.

Why not read about the time Dr Glen Richards almost went into politics?


Author: Dr Glen Richards
About: Dr Glen Richards is a veterinary surgeon and founder and former CEO of Greencross, Australia’s largest pet care company. Glen spent 10 years building a multi-million dollar integrated pet care empire, which now operates more than 130 veterinary hospitals in Australia, New Zealand and China. The company is also Australasia’s leading specialty pet care retailer, with more than 200 stores operating under the brand names Petbarn and City Farmers.
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