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Why Don’t The Unemployed Get Off Their Backsides And… Start Their Own Business!

One thing about the Liberals: they don’t rely on handouts from the taxpayer. When they lose their seats at election time, they gird their loins and find another job. Eric Hutchinson joins a long line of Liberals who were quickly re-employed after leaving Parliament. Ok, most of them have been re-employed by their former colleagues, but at least they haven’t sat around complaining about being unemployed, which is apparently what the Left want them to do. Labor were quick to complain about Mr Hutchinson being appointed to a job with the Senate President just because the job wasn’t advertised and because no such job had existed until it was created. But then Labor are like that! They complained about all the ex-MPs given jobs by the Turnbull government.

And they complained when Sophie Mirabella was given that job after she lost Indi in 2013. They suggested that she had no experience with submarines. However, I’d like to point out that submarines go under, and she’d just gone under in her electorate so surely that qualifies her. And she demonstrated that it was no fluke by going under again in 2016.

However, it wasn’t the Liberals that inspired me to write today. It was the wonderful performance by Grace Collier on Q and A last night. For those of you who missed it, Ms. Collier told us that the unemployed shouldn’t be reliant on people providing them with jobs. Ms Collier, an Industrial Relations Expert assured us:

“Nobody has an entitlement to a job. Society doesn’t owe you a job. The Government can’t get you a job. The Government shouldn’t have to get you a job. There’s no such thing as Government money. There’s your money and my money.

“Everybody has something that they’re good at … You work out what you’re good at and you try and make a career out of that.”

But when people suggested that their weren’t enough jobs out there, Ms. Collier had all the answers, knocking down these petty objections with:

“People can start their own businesses. It’s terrible, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awful to have to start your own business because someone else has to give you a job?”

So, inspired by this News Corps columnist, I decided that I’d start my own business. My contract runs out in a couple of months and I don’t want to be unemployed, so I guess I’d better start planning now.

I guess I’ll need get some advice on how to set up a business. I mean, I know that there must still be some rules and regulations – even if the Liberals have been busily eliminating all that nasty red tape that slows things down. I’m pretty sure that I can’t just start a sweat shop in the spare room or run a beer garden in my backyard, but beyond that, what are the laws. I guess I better hire an accountant or get some legal advice. And I suppose that I have to register my business or something.

But that’s ok, I’ve got some money that I can get my hands on. The unemployed, of course, may need to go to a bank and tell them that they had a great idea and could they just borrow a few thousand for set-up costs. The bank should be more than willing to lend it to them if they’ll just put their house up as collateral because, well, they all own a house, don’t they?

Anyway, that’s their problem. Right now we’re dealing with my business. I’ve already got my list of things to do:

  1. Get advice on how to set up business.
  2. Hire an office or factory.
  3. Work out what we’re going to sell or produce.

Given the fact that I’m currently working, I should be able to manage the first two all right, but I’m having a bit of trouble with number three. I’ve eliminated a lot of ideas on the grounds that they’re illegal. I did think that people were sad to see the car industry close, so maybe I could start a factory to manufacture an Australian made car, but then I decided that idea is too obvious and there’s probably lots of unemployed who’ve already thought of that one – particularly those who once worked in the industry and actually have some idea of how an automobile is made. I also thought about mining, but I decided that it might upset the neighbours if I started digging up coal or fracking near the garage, because some of them told me that the supported the mining tax and I’m worried that they might be anti-development.

I need to be more innovative, I told myself. And for a couple of hours, I wracked my brain wondering in what way I could start an innovative business. But then the news came on and I heard Malcolm Turnbull speak.

“That’s it!” I shouted.

I nodded. I’d worked it out. I didn’t have to actually do anything innovative, I just had to start a business and call it “Innovations R Us” and charge people to come into their workplace and tell them that it would be a great idea if they were more innovative and tell them that if they weren’t more innovative then they could lose out in today’s innovative world. I haven’t quite worked out how much to charge yet, but I know that it certainly needs to be a fair bit to cover all the costs of setting up my business.

“Innovations R Us”…

Mm, is that”us” misleading, given it’s only me in the business.

Ah well, when the idea catches on I’ll hire more people… Assuming that they haven’t all started their own businesses. Of course, when I think about it, there should be some ready to work by the time my business takes off, as most of them will be unemployed because, as everyone knows, most businesses fail in the first twelve months.

Well, everyone except Industrial Relations Expert, Grace Collier!


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  1. Keitha Granville

    People who have extremely well remunerated positions – MPs, mining magnates, industrial relations experts – have absolutely no qualms in telling those less fortunate how to improve their lot. Get a job that pays more, have your family buy a house for you, start your own business – gosh, it seems so simple really.

  2. Freethinker

    “Start their own business”
    With which money? Are they going to give a grant to people to start their own business? Are they going to eliminate red tape and establishment costs?

    What a bunch of inept people we have up in the top in this country!

  3. Richard Knowles

    Would be nice to have mates to provided you with a tax funded position – no need to troll the job market and compete with those other bums.

  4. keerti

    In respect of Madame Miribella I like to suggest that going down is more appropriate!

  5. Shevill Mathers

    Sadly, so many politicians and people in senior roles, CEO’s etc. are so far removed from reality and so far up themselves, they have lost all appreciation of what getting a job entails in these days of automation, robotic factories etc.with more applicants for fewer jobs as more businesses shut down and move offshore to exploit cheaper labour-Many need a reality check before making such glib statements. Life is much simpler for failed to be elected MP’s etc.

  6. Andreas Bimba

    Some of Peter Dutton’s comments regarding refugees:

    “For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it, so there would be huge cost and there’s no sense in sugar-coating that, that’s the scenario.”

    “These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that.”

    Dutton is right about refugees and all the unemployed – just don’t let them into the country or deport them if they’re already here. Vote Liberal.

  7. Roscoe

    for an Industrial Relations ‘expert’, she is not too good at relating to people. ‘Industrial Relations Expert’ sounds a bit like she may have started her own company and had to come up with a catchy name for herself

  8. jimhaz

    The assumption that everyone has the same high level skills and ambitious and positive frame of mind that the money obsessed have really grates on me.

    There are almost no business creation choices for those without money – such choices are nearly always taken by migrants, who often get there via private loan/money pooling systems. There is already an oversupply of no skill small businesses in Australia – too many micro businesses hardly earn the minimum wage per hour after expenses. Also more older folk or existing employees seeking more work using the web (Airtasker), will also want part time employment, and this also makes low skilled startups too hard to get into due to an oversupply.

    I hardly understand how they believe their own rhetoric, their ideas being so irrational. Maybe they don’t really believe it, but don’t care as they simply don’t want to pay the cost of fixing the problem, so they just act like parrots.

  9. win jeavons

    Irrational ; that sums up most of this government’s little thought bubbles. Let them eat cake starts to sound normal! When can we have a MAXIMUM wage scheme that recognises that many currently well paid (overpaid?) public figures are worth very little in a real world ? Start with many pollies in Canberra.

  10. 6thgencynic (@emuwhisperer)

    The lying cheating blood-sucking Fiberals and their unmerry band of mean-spirited cheerleaders proving irrefutably again and again and again and again that ‘ignorance is bliss’ and blissfully ignorant people should not be given a platform on QandA to pollute the political discourse.

  11. Pappinbarra Fox

    I did not see the QA but did anyone point out that >80% of startups fail in the first 12 months?

  12. Rossleigh

    Pappinbarra, you mean apart from me in this piece?

  13. Kaye Lee

    Googling Grace Collier is an ugly experience. There’s her criticism of Julia Gillard for showing cleavage and her criticism of Australians who volunteered to go and help fight the Ebola epidemic and her dogged pursuit of Bill Shorten for union matters.

    Her bio on the HR Nicholls website is rather interesting….

    “Grace Collier

    At the age of 21, whilst an employee within Marketing at Telstra, Grace was identified by Officials within the Community and Public Sector Union as an individual with leadership talent for the organisation of labour and workplace activism. Inducted into the ACTU’s special training and development program, Grace began as a rookie Organiser with The Australian Services Union.

    Subsequently, rejected by the BLF and the CFMEU on the grounds of being “a girl and too small”, she eventually secured a position as Organiser with the Storeman and Packers Union; commonly referred to as ‘the Packers and Wackers’

    During the great dispute between Patrick and the MUA, Grace played an instrumental role in the Queensland section of the resistance movement and was one of the core group arrested and charged for her role in operations. However, upon the election of the Labor Government, all charges against Grace were dropped; for which Grace informs me she is now most grateful.

    The road travelled since her early days as a Union Official has been one of growth and challenge as Grace has navigated through several strategic career moves that have propelled her to her current role as a partner and advisor to boards and top-level executives.

    Grace formed Industrial Relations Consulting in 2003.”

    Though she gets called a “commentator” and she writes for the Australian so perhaps Grace’s business isn’t going so well.

  14. Lord John

    And little big horn Foghorn Legghorn Ian Elgin Macfarlane managed to get a nice little earner. O’k so he was appointed a little earlier than normal regulations apply after leaving parliament.Come on don’t dob him in; he’s good bloke and he’s got to make a quid too.And he was great Minister for Hot Scones with jam and cream. Top bloke.He will be sincerely missed by the kitchen staff in Parliament House.

  15. jimhaz

    What Collier says about the large building companies and collusion does seem to be a big positive in her favour. I’ve heard the same from others in the know in relation to commission fees.


    Tony, I find this whole debate bewildering and disappointing because the legislation that goes with the ABCC, it allows the government to have a building code, and that is an anti-corruption code of conduct. That code of conduct only applies to building companies. It doesn’t apply to unions. And so, um… I get very disappointed even when I hear people in the government, when they talk about, “We need the ABCC to pull the CFMEU into line.” I think, “No, this is not just about union misbehaviour.” Yeah, sure, there’s union misbehaviour, sure – but this is about corporate profits at the expense of taxpayer funds. That’s what it’s about. So, when a great big project is built, the biggest companies that build those projects, the head contractors, they will essentially…they price-fix, and everyone gets the same. And that price-fixing goes down through the subcontracting layers there comes lots of corruption, lots of opportunities for corruption, lots of graft. So, it’s not just about, you know, a union being militant and these union members taking home all this money and ripping us all off…

  16. jimhaz

    I watched Mal Meninga’s Who Do You Think You Are episode recently (Pacific Islander sugarcane farm slaves/457’s), and it made me think of how this government does unfair and harmful deportations for often minor crimes years ago, and also the general treatment of non-citizens.

    It sort of feels like the LNP has created a contemporary form of the White Australia Policy.

    Skip to 44 minutes…and listen for 3 minutes. Ring a bell.

  17. diannaart

    Excellent work, Rossleigh

  18. Jan

    Many women end up doing what I do for business. “Lay back and think of England”.It beats starving!

  19. diannaart

    Or, we could all become supermodels – what’s to know? Nothing. We have just as much chance of winding up on the cover of Vogue as we do in setting up our own business.

  20. Kaye Lee


    If the ABCC is just a building company code of conduct, then why does it have such draconian powers, way beyond what the police have? It doesn’t deal with criminal matters so why are they bringing up bikies?

  21. Geoff Andrews

    There’s lots of good ideas for the unskilled unemployed on how to start their own business in Mayhew’s “London Labour & the Lnodon Poor”. It’d be a good read for you too, Rossleigh! Fossicking in the sewers for metal, for example. Maybe keepng the footpath outside mansions clear of snow and rubbish and living off the generous tips of the owners or ust become a ratcatcher. Simple.

    Highly recommended.

  22. Sean Crawley

    What time at night can you still get into your beergarden?

  23. townsvilleblog

    My Dad dies in 2002 but didn’t leave me half of West Australia but if he had I would have continued his business but would have remunerated my workers much better. Gees I’m slack!

  24. helvityni

    Rather than to apply for jobs as a teacher of Swedish and German,( my Finnish qualifications) I decided to start my own business when the last kid went to a preschool. Shared the running of it and of course the cost of hiring the premises with my sister-in -law, no experience ,just two creative and hard-working women, and voila.. a success.

    After a year, we moved to bigger premises, and finally sold it..

    Kids are all grown-up now, so this happened when they were primary schoolers…

    Now I see businesses closing down or constantly moving to cheaper and cheaper premises, too many fail, I would not start any businesses today.

    I’d leave it all to Ms Collier, Mrs Sloane or Mr Roskham (?).Of course I would not support any of their businesses, my loyalties lie somewhere else.

  25. Ella

    So before this latest lot of BS , it was earn or learn.
    I know a person who did, she spent a year learning only to find out that no one would employ her because “she lacked experience” She even offered to forgo pay whilst getting on the job training.
    So she thought of starting her own business , she applied to the new business incentive scheme …BUT… because she could not say that he business would make x amount of dollars in a year she was knocked back.
    I was talking to the girls at my doctors, they advertised a job for a trainee receptionist , they had 50 applicants for the one job.
    What hope is there for those who are unemployed?
    I am sickened by politicians raving about creating jobs yet deliberately sinking industries that created jobs.

  26. John

    My business required Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance – $1000/year minimum upfront .
    Unemployed since the crash of iron prices/457 visas, I attending a three day MaxEmployment course on positive and innovative approaches to the workplace (for which they get government payola) they suggested I restart my business.
    I asked if they would pay my insurance.

  27. Judith W

    Well there’s always the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme – if you find the time to put your application together while applying for 40 jobs a month plus your Work-for-dole obligations. You’ll probably have a bit of trouble with applying for a loan to cover startup costs. Did Ms Collier mention how to overcome this hurdle? And how many unsuccessful businesses did she manage to start up before taking up her position with the Australian?

  28. paulwalter

    Anyway, Ged Kearney immediately slapped Collier down by reminding us that if no one had any money, how could the businesses succeed?

    This was in the wake of an astonishing situation with an early question concerning the brewery workers kicked out at CUB, when Judith Sloan either displayed unforgivable laziness in not fact checking her proposition that workers were properly informed of changes up coming, or told a blatant lie as to that process.

    Mercifully, someone in the audience was able to correct Sloan’s misinformation, but that was just as well when the attempted misinformation about that event could have derailed the entire show.

    Jimhaz’ anecdote again revealed the dishonesty of the righties as to the ABCC and the requirement for an industry wide approach rather than a witchhunt for shop stewards trying to prevent more fatal accidents on building sites.

    As for Roskam, the next time he tells the truth, will be the first time.

  29. Sean Crawley

    Did you see Sloan’s ire when Richard Natale used the term “right winged dinosaurs”? She obviously took it personally. And all this deflective crap about there being no such thing as job security … and the hide of Collier to challenge Natale and Kearney and so on to start up businesses so they can employ people … and her total ignorance on the situation in the USA … now I’m getting angry.

    Dog eat dog capitalism in a global free market has created war on every level of human society, and it’s going on right here right now.

  30. Jack Straw

    Everyone has been caught napping. The subdefugel plans of where we are currently at have been shored up for the past 20 Since Howard.Everything has been done to break the worker.Police now have all the power. So we have lost because we are so complacent.

  31. Sharyn L

    I am currently setting up a business with a friend. We did a small business certificate with SETS an NEIS provider, it’s not an easy task, not everyone could get through this course, especially those with poor literacy and numeracy skills. We are setting up our business because we are mature aged women who can’t find work. Both of us are educated in various fields, over qualified for low skills jobs, so finding work is extremely difficult. I get a bit of casual work but it’s never enough to get me off benefits. I managed to save a whole $1, 000 while I was working 15 hours a week for 11 months, it’s all we have incash to set up. In twelve months time I might be wishing I had something to show for my $1, 000 bucks, besides a failed business, I do know that not everyone could start a business. That woman is up her own arse!

  32. diannaart

    Sharyn L

    I wish you every success. Anyone who can manage to save $1,000 while on government “benefits” clearly has superior management skills.

    I would like to see more small business – we need real competition, greater diversity in the market place…. and a limit on monopolies!

  33. diannaart

    Regarding applying for a job….

  34. paulwalter

    Concur with diannaart re Sharyn L.

  35. Steve Laing

    Good luck Sharilyn! I set up and ran a business here for 10 years, taking it to be the biggest retailer in Australia for a globally recognised brand in 2012. And never made a living wage from it. My only financial “success” was that when I sold it at the end of 2014, I almost recouped my investment. So I still have a house. The only people who really benefited for all my hard work were the landlord, the banks, my suppliers, insurance companies (about $1k per month), and accountants. My second business “venture” was as an Uber “entrepreneur”. After a month where my average income was about $15 an hour BEFORE expenses, I decided my time (and safety) was worth more. But it’s a great way for UBER to get around minimum wage laws, so expect to see much more commoditisation of low skilled work.

    The problem is that there are already too many small businesses and not enough customers, thanks to the banks sucking up everyone’s cash to pay off overpriced housing stock. Self determination won’t solve that problem, despite Grace Colliers wonderfully simple sounding Ponzi scheme.

  36. Trish Corry

    Who would have thought Turnbull and not Abbott would have revived the battle between the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie? Exciting stuff. I’m ready. I’m always ready.

    Someone should ask Grace Collier how people on income management can save to start their own business without cash.

    To quote Monty Python: “Can I have three farthings for a lump of shit please?”

  37. Steve Laing -

    Other than gambling, starting a business must be the quickest way possible to lose money. Only the people that do well tell you about how great it is, but its only when you are in it that you realise how difficult it really can be. It is an absolute minefield, and ultimately you, the business owner, ends up carrying the can. Even if your accountants, or your lawyers stuff up, you eat the shit. I still have to store boxes and boxes of paperwork in case the ATO ever decide to audit me (though I’m not sure that the cost of doing so would be worth any potential benefit), but them’s the rules.

    I heard Dr Martin Parkinson recently suggest that bankruptcy rules needed to change to allow entrepreneurs to take more risks, and more easily weather business failures. Having had a supplier go bankrupt, this kind of attitude reveals how little these mandarins, and the politicians they give advice to, understand business reality. Whilst one supplier owed me about $30k for returned goods when he went bust, I first had to pay the $8k invoices I had outstanding in full to the receivers. In return I finally received less than $2k for the money owed to me. The only people to make any money were the receivers who did handsomely. I don’t mind people taking risks with their own money, but when they start taking risks with mine – and there is sometimes remarkably little you can do about it – you realise that you are only ever there to make money for the bigger players in the game.

  38. diannaart


    Remember 4 legs good, I mean private is good, public is bad.

  39. Anomander

    Call yourself an industrial relations expert – the bar for entry doesn’t appear to be very high.

    How about a role as a commentator – no skills required, just repeat the opinions of big business.

    There’s also good money to be made in calling yourself a consultant and pissing in politicians pockets.

    Or perhaps a lobbyist – ingratiate yourself to some scumbag mining business and get them to pay you to piss in politicians pockets.

    And best of all, you can incorporate yourself as a business, paying only 30% tax, as opposed to the individual rate, and you get to write-off all your expenses, plus if you piss in enough pockets you could line yourself up for a lucrative career in politics.

    Just make sure you get your business to buy suits with plastic lined pockets.

  40. Gangey1959

    I am a Screenprinter. You know, Tshirts, and bumper stickers, and that sort of stuff. I used to have a job, and it used to be fun.
    Then I met a family, and we all moved in together, and it was still fun. Then interest rates went up, so I started to do a bit of extra work in the garage. Then I lost my job when the competition from north of the equator made my job too expensive, so I had to get more work to do in the garage, and learn how to drive a forklift, and then learn how to drive a truck too. Things got to be a bit les fun, cos I was a lot more tired from doing a lot more (fun) things all the time.
    Then I got sick and they put me in hospital for a while. The bank took my (their???) house away, so now I pay more in rent than I was in mortgage, but it’s my fault because I missed some payments. I spend a buttload on meds, and now I am losing weight because I don’t eat enough. My Tshirt clients have gone, mostly offshore. I am not allowed to drive a truck any more, and because I got sick in the first place most of my old forklift work places look at me sideways when I ask them about doing that again.
    I’ll just have to wait until after the next round of FTA’s are announced to see what might be left for an aspiring global backyard business person before I go to the banks for some startup funding though.
    Or I could get into politics. That seems like a pretty good life. Free travel, a good pension for life, a sinecure job for afters. Beeooootiful.
    Where do I sign ?
    Maybe ms collier can assist me. Effing dumb bitch.

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