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From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

Small business looks to Turnbull for confidence on contracts

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The new Turnbull government faces an immediate test of its small business credentials with the Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms Bill 2015 before parliament and needing a decision.

Big business interests oppose the bill. On Monday morning, the day of the spill against Tony ­Abbott, the bill was amended in the Senate, enlarging its reach to more small business contracts than the government’s plan. More...


The Senate's sensible small business stance

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This is a tale that dispels the myth about a dysfunctional Senate. If anything, my recent experience with the current crop of senators indicates a grouping of real professionals performing diligently in a pressure-cooker environment.

Monday, of course, was an extraordinary day with the successful party room spill against Tony Abbott. What’s not well known is what preceded the spill on Monday morning in the Senate.  More...


Small business policy is greater than the sum of its parts

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

It’s a bit of a magician’s act to make something big out of something small. But that’s the task the Abbott Government has put before it in staking so much of its economic credentials on the small business sector.

However, when you realise that over 60 per cent of the workforce work in SMEs, the government is not playing a magician’s game but responding to a hard-core economic reality. As the mining boom winds back, small business has to be a primary target for jobs growth. It’s already been announced that next week’s budget will strongly feature small business incentives. More...


How the ATO is oppressing small business

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The scariest thing about being a small businessperson in Australia is not the ‘normal’ commercial risks of business but rather that you’ll be targeted by the Australian Taxation Office. This is the conclusion that can be drawn from two official reviews of how the ATO deals with small businesspeople.

The first report is the Board of Taxation’s Review of Tax Impediments Facing Small Business released in February. (You can read my summary and comments here.) The second comes from the Inspector-General of Taxation into The Management of Tax Disputes released this month. (Again, you can read my summary and comments on this report here.) More...


Why the government should overhaul Labor's illegal logging laws

Monday, February 09, 2015

Last year, I had a real go at the Federal Government over the impending red tape nightmare that was about to unfold with the new illegal logging laws.

In an environment where the government was, and is, doing a lot to seriously reduce red tape for both large and small businesses, the illegal logging laws were a stand-out, and quite threatening, backward step. More...


Why can’t Colbeck see the wood for the trees?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

There’s an impending ‘disaster’ for around 15,000 small businesses in Australia as a result of the Abbott government's persisting with a Labor/Green ‘environmental’ agenda.

It’s to do with new ‘illegal’ logging laws that come into effect in November this year.

In an effort to save the world’s forests, the Labor/Green alliance, under the Gillard/Rudd governments, passed the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012. It’s one of those regulatory approaches that we saw consistently under Labor and reflects an oppressive, ponderous and impossible-to-comply-with bureaucratic approach to social, environmental or other agendas. It’s a law that lacks the capacity to work in practice. More...


Axe the illegal logging laws

Monday, September 01, 2014

Environmental lobbyists are in panic because there’s the potential in NSW for land-clearing laws to be freed up. They say “extremists” want to give farmers greater rights to clear their farmland for farming.

But look at the “extremism” under federal laws, starting in November, to stop the import of illegally logged timber. The laws are green tape on steroids that put at risk 15,000 small-business people involved in timber product imports. Compliance is impossible, yet people face jail if they don’t comply. More...


Reaping the rewards of a fair go for small business

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Abbott government’s review into competition laws organised by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson shouldn’t just be considered as a revisiting of the laws' technicalities. The design of competition laws say a lot about the moral authority of the very system of market capitalism.  More...


International Policy Discussion

Sunday, April 06, 2014

This video explores the freelance landscape across the world with Ken Phillips representing contractors in Australia, Professor Patricia Leighton outlining her research into the rise of independent working across Europe and Simon McVicker discussing freelancing in the UK More...


Political card tricks

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Small business people lose out under Abbott government. Incompetent big business wins

Last week the Abbott government did two things that signal it as a big business, big union, big government operation. This is probably surprising to most people who thought the Coalition was a union hater. But not so!  More...



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