Advisers wanting to influence politicians on policy issues must put their own business agenda aside and think about the public interest, says former FPA chair Matthew Rowe.
Speaking at the 2014 FPA Professional Congress in Adelaide, Mr Rowe said if advisers want to hold conversations with politicians about legislative changes they need think about the “public’s best interest” and not what is good for their business.
“Over the last four years I have spent a lot of time with politicians and they don’t care about you, me, or our business realistically,” Mr Rowe said.
“We are all small business people, they get that – that’s all part of their constituency,” he said.
“So all of us, as leaders in the profession, when we go and see politicians and we want to put forward an argument around legislative change, we need to be able to do that through the lens of what’s in the public’s best interest,” Mr Rowe said.
Mr Rowe also pointed out that politicians understand that legislative changes do affect business owners, but at the end of the day they will only listen to ideas about possible changes that affect the public’s best interest and how they receive advice.
“If you are going in there just to have a whinge about how this isn't good for your business, they will be really respectful and smile at you, I have been smiled at a lot, but they will be thinking about what they are going to have for dinner that night within about 20 seconds,” he said.
“What I implore upon any of you who have got contacts with politicians, political leaders, [and] people in political parties, if you are going to have a discussion with them around things that are important, try and work [within] a public best interest framework,” Mr Rowe said.
“What is in the public interest – that is what has got to frame the conversation with a politician,” Mr Rowe said.
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