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From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

How Turnbull can realise his innovation dreams

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

It’s fantastic that that you’re excited about ‘being alive’ and that you’re encouraging Australian’s to get out and ‘do things’. Yep, it’s people power that makes our society and economy vibrant and strong. If anything, you’re asking us to be entrepreneurs!

But I want to put my piece of caution to you as you drive us down the innovation road. More...


The Senate's sensible small business stance

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This is a tale that dispels the myth about a dysfunctional Senate. If anything, my recent experience with the current crop of senators indicates a grouping of real professionals performing diligently in a pressure-cooker environment.

Monday, of course, was an extraordinary day with the successful party room spill against Tony Abbott. What’s not well known is what preceded the spill on Monday morning in the Senate.  More...


Royal Commission: Shorten actions look corrupt

Friday, July 10, 2015

What’s becoming apparent from the royal commission into union corruption is something that’s bigger than just identifying corrupt individuals.

A picture is emerging that the way major business is routinely done in Australia is systemically ‘‘corrupt’’. Yes, that money changes hands for questionable favours. More...


Small business budget redefines the Coalition

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This is a highly political budget, as are all budgets. But this time it’s political in a different way.

The Labor Party brand themselves with their century-long moral mantra of the ‘working man’. Liberals historically have allowed their branding to be defined by the negative ‘bosses party’ image. This budget breaks that mould. For the Coalition it’s a brand re-positioning budget.

It’s definitely not a big bosses’ budget. The government claims it’s “the biggest small business initiative in our nation’s history”. It’s a claim probably justified on the detail of the package. More...


Small retailers will suffer the ultimate penalty

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The political uproar that is the debate over penalty rates could almost be a hysterical comedy written for Australians by the ghost of Shakespeare.

Think of it. Some months ago as Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s popularity polling was crashing, he dared utter the thought bubble that penalty rates should be reformed. There was uproar from his surrogate political opponents, the union movement, headed by the ACTU. More...


How the ATO is oppressing small business

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The scariest thing about being a small businessperson in Australia is not the ‘normal’ commercial risks of business but rather that you’ll be targeted by the Australian Taxation Office. This is the conclusion that can be drawn from two official reviews of how the ATO deals with small businesspeople.

The first report is the Board of Taxation’s Review of Tax Impediments Facing Small Business released in February. (You can read my summary and comments here.) The second comes from the Inspector-General of Taxation into The Management of Tax Disputes released this month. (Again, you can read my summary and comments on this report here.) More...


International Policy Discussion

Sunday, April 06, 2014

This video explores the freelance landscape across the world with Ken Phillips representing contractors in Australia, Professor Patricia Leighton outlining her research into the rise of independent working across Europe and Simon McVicker discussing freelancing in the UK More...


Turn yourself into a brand

Sunday, December 15, 2013

If you don’t ‘brand’ yourself when you’re self-employed, your capacity to be your own business and make good money is diminished. This is an important message I took from a presentation at the Pan-Asia small business conference in Macau in November.

The presentation by Dr Paul Temporal of Oxford University explained how successful global companies create and maintain brands. More importantly, he identified precisely what a brand is. The messages Paul was delivering are as applicable to self-employed, small business people as they are to large businesses. More...


Political card tricks

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Small business people lose out under Abbott government. Incompetent big business wins

Last week the Abbott government did two things that signal it as a big business, big union, big government operation. This is probably surprising to most people who thought the Coalition was a union hater. But not so!  More...


Freelance workers: hits and myths

Friday, November 29, 2013

Human resource management systems and the professionals who run them are failing to manage a big percentage of their workforces.

This view comes from the admissions of senior HR professionals at a series of workshops and seminars I’ve attended recently. More...



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