As employee and industrial relations practitioners working with small business in Australia there has been much conjecture as to what will happen should the Labor Party in Australia gain Government in late 2007.This article is written from an apolitical perspective based on what facts are generally known at this time. We do not give political credence to any group as we are practitioners not politicians.Much of the hype that one sees in the media has been beaten up on both sides of the political divide and small business is asking – who can I really believe.This is what we already know about the present Coalition Government and Work Choices Legislation.Work Choices has added a layer of employer / employee flexibility through certain agreements such as Australian Workplace Agreements however some sectors of the community have disputed this.In Biz Momentum’s day to day operations that cover every state and territory of Australia we are yet to see an agreement or write an agreement that disadvantages the employee. More to the fact that because of the scarcity of supply of skilled labour we are seeing an increase in benefits and wages to attract and keep skilled employees.These benefits include a sign on fee (in one case $30,000), all the electronic gadgets and perks usually reserved for senior executives plus well above the award payments.While it is possible to infer that these benefits are derived from the new flexible arrangements it appears to us to be more of attracting and sustaining skilled workers.What is the likely outcome should Labor win government.From our experience there is a reluctance amongst some sectors of the small business market to invest in work choice type agreements because of a ‘fear’ of what the Labor Party may change. This misinformation is often spruiked by people who do not understand or have experience in the industrial arena and who would be better to ensure that the advice they are giving is accurate.What we also know is that if the government changes then Australian Workplace Agreements will be scrapped and that is clear.However current Australian Workplace Agreements will be allowed to run to their notional expiry date which can be up to 5 years; in other words until 2013. Surely this provides the small business with certainty.The Labor Party has espoused an increased focus on Collective Agreements or what is commonly referred to as Enterprise Bargaining Agreements. This is nothing new! These agreements have been around for years and are a part of the work choices options: union and non union collective agreements.We are aware that there will be an increased emphasis on common law agreements however this is par for the course as many professionals are now hired via common law agreements with standard restraints, intellectual property, goodwill and such clauses.Biz Momentum believes that small business should concentrate on ensuring they have the basics in place; that is a job description, employment agreement, policy and procedures and an induction process. This coupled with managing conflict quickly will ensure that business can thrive.Small business is urged to look ahead to the future and not to sit on the sidelines and adopt a wait and see attitude. This does not grow your business or push you positively towards your goals and financial future. Its a bit like the Accounting Standards; you do not start a business around the ‘standards’ however start your business and see how the ‘standards’ fit in with what you are doing. You could call it a bit like the chicken before the egg or the horse before the cart.The very worst thing for small business in our opinion is to sit back and do nothing. There are people out there, yes employees only too willing to take you on. By way of example we assisted an employer where the employee sued over not having a job description and the amount – $325,000. The sad fact is that 2.5 years have expired and the matter is yet to proceed to court and tragically the employee will receive compensation as they did not receive a job description.Onward and upwards should be your view. Don’t look at the herd and what they are doing – boring. Do the opposite and grow your business put your house in order and make progress.Disadvantaged – that’s not the issue. The issue is sensibly grow your business and protect your business from risks!For other helpful articles see http://www.biz-momentum.comPlease note that these are our opinions gleaned from research Australia wide and comments made by various people including politicians.