Cooking French Pigeons! The Revolution in Entrepreneurship

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips notes the importance of independent contractors: 

Last week, in our release “desperately seeking entrepreneurs”, we reported on how Europe makes life tough for entrepreneurs. This week, we report on how France is treating its entrepreneurs as pigeons and cooking them in a uniquely French way. 

Yes, the new French government decided that economic revival requires French entrepreneurs who sell their businesses to give 60 per cent of the sale price to the government. This, along with related ‘initiatives’, stirred an online viral movement called ‘Les Pigeons’. If you read French, here’s their site. But wait. The pigeons have won. The government has backed off. Power to the pigeons!! Read all about it here.

It was a pretty dumb French idea. Look, for example, at this new Australian research on how productive we pigeons (oops, sorry! self-employed entrepreneurs) really are.  

The Monash University research sponsored by Entity Solutions looks at the attitudes and performance of white-collar independent contractors. (They call them IPros) The report says that: 

“The survey debunks the myth that IPros are less committed to their work than permanent employees… One of the biggest differences between a permanent employee and an IPro appears to be that IPros are results-driven from day one. They recognise the value of time and deliver accordingly.”

Here’s a summary of the report.

So it seems, more power to the pigeons! We’re hugely important to economies because we’re productive. And there’s lots of us—just like pigeons! 

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

We’ve Changed From a Managerial to an Entrepreneurial Society

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips argues that if political parties are going to be serious about economic growth, then surely their thinking has to start from the individual, self-employed, small business perspective:

Simon Bridge is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Ulster. He’swritten for us before about the change from an agricultural to a Fordist to an entrepreneurial society.
Simon has now given us more food for thought. This time he considers the change froma managerial to an entrepreneurial society. The change, he says, is quite profound—particularly for government policies that aim to create economic and jobs growth. The task is not to target favoured entrepreneurs but to target an entrepreneurial economy. This marks a significant shift in thinking.
To my mind the challenge is also to politics. In 1956, Galbraith suggested that economic management is about ‘big business’ balanced by ‘big labour’ and ‘big government’. That thinking still dominates how political parties approach their task. But the challenge is to reverse that thinking.

Take these simple Australian statistics:

  • 2.1 million Australians are self-employed.
  • 1.1 million don’t employ anyone
  • the other 1 million employ about 6 million people

Of a work force of about 11.5 million more than 8 million are in small business.

  • About 1.7 million work for government
  • About 1.7 million are in medium and big business

If political parties are going to be serious about economic growth, then surely their thinking has to start from the individual, self-employed, small business perspective. The days of elitist ‘big’ handing down economic prescriptions to the ‘little people’ must eventually disappear.

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

Gillard government: hates volunteers, loves unions Gillard government: hates volunteers, loves unions

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips describes the continued attack on volunteer & community groups by the GIllard Government: 

This headline – “Gillard government hates volunteers, loves unions”, is based on evidence. Last week the Gillard government killed off the Australian Building and Construction Commission. (The Abbott opposition have said that it will restore the ABCC if elected.)
One of the reasons the government cited for removing the ABCC was because it had strong powers to require unions and others in the construction sector to answer questions about corruption, bullying and intimidation. (We say the ABCC protected self-employed construction workers from extreme harassment and intimidation.)  The government has now saved unions from tough questioning that might expose bullying and corruption.
But the Gillard government has a proposal to introduce a new regulatory system for the not-for-profit and volunteer sector. The Bill sets up a commission that will have near-identical powers to question volunteers that it’s just removed from unions. The double standard is glaring.
The government is also introducing new tax laws for the not-for-profit sector—but exempting unions from those laws.
This follows the Gillard government’s introducing OHS laws that enable volunteers to be prosecuted. Here’s the evidence from the Scout Association.
What is it with this government? Doesn’t it understand what it takes to make a just and fair society? It favours protecting bully unions in construction and proposes the same in transport. They have a very contorted view of justice!

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

Scouts and Other Volunteers Hit by OHS Laws

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips discusses the damaging affect of new national OHS laws on volunteers:

In a dramatic demonstration of the bad design of the new national OHS laws, the NSW Scout Association has issued a memo to all its volunteer leaders and committee members. The memo is here.
In part, it says:
Section Leaders are required to perform the following duties

Promptly rectify or notify safety issues around the Scout Hall
Conduct risk assessments on proposed games and activities and ensure that the can be done with a reasonable expectation of safe participation.
Provide clear and concise instructions to Youth Members on safety issues.
Enforce safety requirements and the use of personal protection equipment where required.
Follow the policies and procedures of the Association
If you do not follow directives, policies and procedures, you may be fined.
 In effect, volunteers are now expected to have the same OHS expertise and resources as a senior manager in BHP. This has never been required before. Volunteers now face huge risks.
What the Scout memo doesn’t say is that prosecutions are conducted under criminal law, that volunteers would be denied the right to silence and could be held responsible even if they didn’t have control of the situation.
Here’s our most recent update on what’s happening with the laws.

The Gillard government is insisting that these laws go fully national.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

Attacks On The Self-Employed Continue

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips on the campaign to damage self-employed people. 

It can sometimes be surprising just how persistent are those who hate self-employed people.
As ex-union boss, smiley Bill Shorten, was promoted to Cabinet as minister for industrial relations, we discover another union-organised attack against self-employed people. Shorten’s government has released proposed legislation that will take away the rights of self-employed truckies to be their own boss.
We’ve assessed the legislation and its impact and written to members of parliament saying ‘don’t be conned’. The con is that the government’s political spin talks about road safety. But the proposal, which is likely to pass, will impose price-fixing on truckies, push down their incomes, decrease productivity and not improve road safety. It’s a red-tape template bonanza that can be applied to all self-employed people.
Who knows what Shorten thinks of this but he’s now responsible for the legislation. Last week I had an article in The Australian assessing Shorten’s task as minister. It’s an impossible one, even if he wanted to do the right thing. His union background and the enemies he’s made create for him a political squeeze.
When the law and politics get together, watch out! Which is why a lawyer’s (red tape) approach to Christmas can even send us into a spin.

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

Do Unions Hate Self-Employed People?

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips on the union campaign to damage self-employed people. 

Last week I had a radio debate with the head union boss Ged Kearney of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, on the union campaign to damage self-employed people. Ged says that I’m wrong and unions actually love self-employed people.
But my claim is that, on the evidence of the union agitation, they think that only full-time permanent work is moral and legitimate. Here’s the ABC Radio National debate.
Through the Gillard Government, the unions are turning their desires into government action. I explained this in The Australian last week.
The ACTU produced a survey that it claims showed ‘working’ Australians support its ‘permanent work’ campaign. We looked at the survey and commented that the surveyproved the reverse. Now an academic from Monash University, Dr Tui McKeown, has also done an analysis of the survey showing that its conclusions do not stand up to scrutiny.
This debate over the future of work has a long way to go. Do we insist on pushing everyone into a sameness? Or do we embrace diversity of work arrangements? That’s what self-employment is about.

Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.

Staggering ALP Attack Against Small Business People

Ken_phillips Ken Phillips reveals the horrific attacks on small-business by the Gillard-Brown Government:

In the two decades I’ve been advocating for the rights of self-employed people I’ve never seen such a full-scale attack as occurred this week. In this final week of federal parliament for the year, the Gillard Government rushed forward with a range of legislation that will directly damage small business people. I explained my reasoning inThe Australian yesterday. Am I right or wrong? You judge!
It’s no wonder that small business dissatisfaction with the government is at a 3-year high.
And this comes at a time when the threats to the Australian economy (us) have risen massively.

  • The head of the Commonwealth Bank warned yesterday that Global Financial Crisis Mark II is close.  He’s been spooked by the freezing of European bank credit this week.
  • Robert Gottliebsen said there is ‘one misstep to an Aussie bank calamity’.

I hate to say it, but the worst fears of the economic pessimists we’ve been covering since January 2010 seem to be unfolding. If China crashes, as one pessimist says, Australia has Trouble with a capital T.
What should people do? Fund manager Morningstar has an excellent interview with financial author Satyajit Das on money and risk. He assesses how the current situation developed and what to do. The message? Don’t expect capital gain on investments. Protect your assets. Return of capital is more significant than return on capital. 
Find these stories here.


Ken Phillips is the Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Association.