In a week when two business groups expressed concern about the state of politics and the slow pace of much-needed economic reform, the treasurer is hitting back.
“I have raised consistently with large business representatives the need to address the broader collective reputation issues large businesses have with the Australian public that are being cynically exploited by an opportunistic Labor Party,” he will tell a banking conference in Sydney today.
He says Australians readily accept that supporting small and medium-sized businesses is good for the economy and jobs, but remain less convinced about the contributions of larger businesses.
Last week the parliament passed part of the government’s 10-year tax plan, agreeing to cut the corporate tax rate for businesses with a turnover up to $50 million.
The tax package for an eventual reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for all businesses will remain on the government’s agenda.
“Business has a critical role to play in demonstrating to the Australian people that as their business grows, their employees will benefit,” he will tell the AFR Banking and Wealth Summit in Sydney.
“This task cannot be pursued by the government in isolation.”
Government frontbencher Zed Seselja agreed, saying business leaders had to do more than write a letter or opinion piece in a newspaper.
“Business is effectively bringing constantly a knife to a gun fight,” Seselja told Sky News.
He said business was up against Labor, the Greens, the union movement, organisations like Get-Up and a range of other groups who constantly campaigned against them, and demanded higher taxes and more regulation.
Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers thought it funny the treasurer was telling business they had a reputational problem.
“He’s reduced now to begging other people to do his job because he has proven not to be up to it himself,” Chalmers told Sky News.
“All we get now is these sort of red-faced rants trying to pretend his failures are somebody else’s problem.”
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