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Billson admits receiving payment from Franchise Council while still an MP

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The former Abbott Government Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson, has admitted to the ABC that he was receiving payment from the Franchise Council of Australia while still a Member of Parliament. The admission came on the 7.30 Report viewable here.

You might remember that we did battle with Abbott and Billson back in 2015 when they brought in the Unfair Contract Bill limiting it to contracts up to $100,000.  More...


Serious government dysfunction causing great harm

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Looking at politics at the moment one might wonder at how anything functions! And this political dysfunction flows through into government department dysfunction.

Suing the government!
Our truckie friends will be interested in the $600 million class action being organized by farmers over the live cattle export ban in 2011. The Australian’s update is hereMore...


ACCC targets unfair contracts. Franchisors pull in US Vice-President. (What???)

Monday, July 24, 2017

It’s great to report the fabulous work being done by the competition regulator in stamping out unfair contracts. Our ten-year campaign to get the laws in place really is paying off for self-employed small business people. More...


So what can you legally claim and do at tax time and not fear the ATO?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Yes, today is the day that every self-employed person dreads.  It’s end of financial year! So what can you legally do with your tax and be certain you have acted legally?

Earlier this week we published (with his permission) correspondence from the ATO to Rod Douglass. Robert Gottliebsen also wrote this up. The reason for publishing this is so you could see for yourself exactly how the ATO treats self-employed small business people. We’ve had a big response.

On reading the correspondence, some people have commented that Rod was actually in the wrong. When we first read the correspondence in 2015 we also thought that that could be a reasonable conclusion! But then, when we looked at the facts, the reverse was the case. Rod had done nothing wrong. That’s why we came in to defend him. Rod had simply followed what, in 2006, the ATO had said on its website he could do! More...


You open the mail. You owe us $422,030.64 says the ATO. What??

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Imagine this. You arrive home from work. You’re a freelance consultant; an engineer or maybe an IT specialist currently doing work for a bank. Even an aged care worker or a plumber! You’re one of the 2 million plus self-employed people in Australia, one of the new breed of entrepreneurial ‘gig’ economy workers, so the commentators say!

A month ago you had a phone chat with a couple of seemingly friendly ATO officers who had queries about how you work and your tax returns. You were open and honest. Nothing to hide! Pretty simple really?

There’s a letter. You open it. It’s 18 pages of confusing Tax Office bureaucratic blabbering. Somehow you’re accused of tax fraud/evasion. You struggle to understand. But one thing hits you. It’s a demand to pay $422,030.64 for taxes going back 10 years, with 50% penalties and interest! More...


We’ve changed our name! But we’re still the same—only getting stronger

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Well here’s a turn-up for us! In 2000 (goodness, 18 years ago!) we formed Independent Contractors Australia to advocate for the rights of self-employed people. And in that time we’ve been more successful than we could have envisaged. More...


Good news: BIG review of Australian Taxation Office

Thursday, June 08, 2017

You’ll be aware of our ongoing heavy criticism of the Australian Taxation Office in their treatment of small business people.  In our view:

‘Mum and dad’ businesses are targeted by the ATO with unfair, even questionably legal, tactics.
And as just one example, we successfully defended Rod Douglass from baseless ATO accusations of fraud/evasion. More...


Big end of town to pay on time! Or are they?

Saturday, June 03, 2017

It looks like truly good news. The ‘big end of town’, through the Business Council of Australia, last week launched a new small business ‘pay on time’ code. That is, big businesses signing up to the code have agreed to pay small business suppliers on time. And the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBA) has endorsed the code.

Let’s be clear. It appears that BCA has moved on the code because the Victorian government has implemented one, the Federal Small Business Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has been pushing for one and the ‘big end of town’ doesn’t want to see legislation forcing them on this.   More...


‘We’ll only do what we’re made to do!’ says bank’s legal counsel

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Around 8 years ago, we (ICA) were approaching the banks about supporting the introduction of unfair contract laws for small business people. One of the big bank’s chief legal counsel said to us “We’ll only do what we’re made to do!” What a sad attitude. But, unfortunately, in our dealings with many at the ‘big end of town’, that’s our experience with them.

Unfair contract protections
It took us ten years of hard advocacy, but late last year the small business unfair contract laws took effect. Now the change is happening. In The Australian yesterday Robert Gottliebsen detailed how the ACCC has forced Sensis to fix unfair contract clauses. Sensis had concealed clauses that renewed contracts without the small businessperson agreeing. Sensis could cancel contracts but the small businessperson could not. Sensis has agreed to make refunds.  More...


Will franchisors get away with it? Vulnerable Workers Bill

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It’s getting close to decision time in the Senate! Remember the 7-Eleven wages fraud scandal exposed by 4Corners/Fairfax late 2015? The scandal has spread since then with Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Caltex and United Petroleum being caught out underpaying workers.

The Federal government has put forward legislation (The Vulnerable Workers Bill) that will require franchisors to be at least partly responsible if underpayment occurs. We strongly support the Bill. It will force franchisors to properly support the 79,000 small business franchisees to prevent underpayment. More...



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