Business groups have welcomed the appointment of Michael McCormack as the nation’s new Deputy Prime Minister, saying his own background in business is a boon for the SME community.
The former Small Business Minister, before a cabinet reshuffle in late 2017, was officially endorsed as leader of the National Party this morning, automatically elevating him to the role of Deputy Prime Minster under the Coalition agreement.
“Mr McCormack ran his own small business before entering Parliament so he knows what it’s like, and has great empathy for the challenges and opportunities small businesses face everyday,” said Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
“[And] during his time as the Federal Small Business Minister, Mr McCormack led a significant small business roadshow around Australia, visiting more than 30 metropolitan, regional and rural localities, from Albany in Western Australia to North Queensland.”
Ms Carnell added: “We are pleased Mr McCormack will push for the Small Business Minister to have a seat in Cabinet, as has been the case in the past. And we are confident the new Deputy Prime Minister will have small business issues as a major focus.”
This sentiment was echoed by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), with its CEO James Pearson calling Mr McCormack a powerful advocate for SMEs.
“Michael knows business. He understands better than most the sacrifices small businesses make everyday. He knows business needs the support of government in crucial areas such as tax, energy costs, workplace relations reform, skills and training and infrastructure, if they are to succeed in a globally competitive world,” said Mr Pearson.
“He also knows how fundamentally important SMEs are to providing jobs and supporting communities both in cities and in regional Australia.”
Mr McCormack’s appointment comes after the resignation of former party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who stood down amid a scandal surrounding his affair with a former staffer.
According to his website, Mr McCormack – the federal member for the seat of Riverina – was raised on family farms near Wagga Wagga. He went on to become a journalist and eventually editor of local newspaper The Daily Advertiser, and claims to be the youngest person to have been appointed editor of a daily newspaper in Australasia at the time, when he was just 27.
Mr McCormack then subsequently co-founded a small media and publishing business, which he operated for a number of years before being elected to Parliament in 2010.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.