Open Letter to Albo

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By June Ramli

Congratulations to Mr Anthony Albanese for being crowned as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister. What a win, mate. A spectacular, job!
Now, let’s talk business.
Ever since arriving here in Australia on a whim almost 10 years ago, I must concede that I’ve never experienced leadership under a Labor government so, in other words, I am looking forward to Albo’s leadership.
My Australian permanent residency was approved by an Aussie government that was under the Labor leadership but when I got here, things changed and everything became all things, Liberal.
My favourite Australian PM to date is Malcolm Turnbull and I always thought that Tony Abbott got the top job briefly because he was easy on the eyes but to be very honest, my entire move to Australia has not been an easy ride since day one. My journey to the land Down Under has always been marred with challenges at every nook and corner. I am sure every brown migrant has a similar experience as mine. Some have been very brave to call it quits and returned to their home country. But as for me, I am still waiting to see how things would pan out for me especially since I have now dabbled into the world of entrepreneurship.

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For example, if I hadn’t left Malaysia, I do believe that my lingerie business infused with Batik would have eventually been a hit.
Leaving my lingerie business idle in favour of Australia has always been something that I have regretted to this day and to make up for that I’ve decided to try my hand again in entrepreneurship but this time with more Australian infused ideas and by that, I mean by having skincare, hair care and a plush toy line but I must concede that my entrepreneurship journey in Australia hasn’t been easy to date.
Startups in Malaysia get a lot of government support, but the same cannot be said for Australia.
In Malaysia, as an entrepreneur, I was spoilt for choice when it came to funding or grants.
We had SME Bank, PUNB, Cradle (if it is a tech-related startup), Mara and much more that could assist us with a variety of grants and business loans with almost zero interest rates or super low-interest rates.
If you are intending on going overseas there are government agencies, like Matrade that can help one with a variety of things and they have helped me numerous times during my countless business trips to Paris, France in the past.

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But here in Australia, I notice that there aren’t many government agencies helping startups. This is evident as I am busting my ass out on my own and finding the whole process rather hard, to say the least.
I have trouble locating grants, customers and everything in between to get my business up and running as a solopreneur who relies heavily on tech and a bevvy of capable freelancers.
I hope that a government under Albo would look into this, provide more seed funding or grants for early-stage startups etc and not leave us out in the cold like this.
Take, for example, Matrade, when I was trying to promote my business in Paris, France, they helped me with the much-needed connections and contacts and also gave me a chance to promote my business in Sydney by allowing me to take up a complimentary booth in one of their promotional events here in 2016.
I hope that the winds of change for startups in Australia would come soon.
Next, I’d like to address the issues of childless single women. There has been a lot of talk about helping mothers with kids, etc through various subsidies given in a form of child care.
I am not against children and I love them very much. I have a business (plush toys) whose target market is kids themselves but I feel that the government should also reward women who remain childless throughout their lives or simply choose not to reproduce for whatever reason.

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The world is a cruel place and to bring an innocent soul into the world can sometimes be the worst thing.
As it is, existing humans are already facing so many challenges in their daily lives and things are getting pricier by the day so women who choose not to reproduce must be rewarded by the current government with some kind of assistance because if you think about it we are also climate change advocators as in we are not bringing in another human being who can screw up mother earth further.
For this cohort of ladies, you could give them more pension, or give them more allowance if they access it via Centrelink.
When you are single the struggle is harder, as you don’t have a partner to rely on and that is why you will need to have more money. Everything is also more expensive as a singleton as the bills are paid fully by a sole person without having anyone to share the expenses with.
Next, the pension age should be brought forward to at least 60 years. The current age of 67 is way too long of a wait. Many people are giving up on life earlier and with all sorts of diseases emerging these days, some won’t even make it till that age.

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Next, I’ll like to touch on the pension’s flexibility, please make it easy enough for people to access the money and use them to live abroad in countries where the Australian dollar has some superiority over the local currency.
It is really expensive to live in Australia in your twilight years and when you don’t have any income coming in besides the pension your best bet is for you to uproot altogether and move abroad and live in countries that have a lower currency rate.
This is why the pension needs to be flexible enough for overseas usage.
Finally, this is a very sensitive topic that is the need to curb immigration.
Immigration is already at its peak in Australia. Unless the person is the next Elon Musk or has money like Jeff Bezos, please don’t let them in. Many Australian residents are already struggling to buy a house, and the list goes on, if you keep bringing in people from overseas, the curse of the overpriced houses will always remain sky-high for the people who are already here.
So, I hope that this current government comes to its senses and pauses immigration for some years, perhaps 10 years.
Let everything cool down and then start inviting people in again.
I know from experience that immigration is a cash cow for the Australian government.
To commensurate for the lost income, stop being so benevolent to other nations by giving them unnecessary stipends in the form of foreign aid.
If you do that you will see that you will have more than enough money to replace the lost income that is usually derived from the large immigration policies.

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