Tag Archive Independent Federal Senate Candidate for Queensland

Interview for Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (31 May 2016)

I need to say up front that this article is not exactly as I stated in the interview and some things are slightly out of context, but the essence is there. MK

Senate candidate Michael Kaff believes in self-esteem through small business

Getting started is one of the key barriers to entrepreneurship in Australia.

  • Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

While many businesses celebrated the news of tax relief in the Federal Budget, one Queensland Senate candidate and small business advocate wants more to encourage entrepreneurship.

Gold Coast man Michael Kaff, who ran an accounting firm and has more recently taught small business skills at TAFE is campaigning for governments to provide interest-free loans to small business.

Queensland's Michael Kaff
Queensland's Michael Kaff 

"For mum and dad businesses that want to start up, a company tax cut does nothing," he said.

"When I moved to the Gold Coast, I couldn't find work and I was a sole parent, so I know what it's like to to be trying to make it work on next to nothing even having been a professional.

"This isn't about gifts or grants, it's about about giving people, especially young people, who aren't asset rich or cash rich the ability to actually make something of themselves."

Kaff acknowledges such a move would not be popular with banks.

"The fact is that banks won't lend someone without assets or securities money. Or if they will it will be at a ridiculous interest rate. A bank can only worry about the bottom line. So the government has to step in."

Kaff, who taught small business management at TAFE for a decade believes such a program could give people dignity and self-esteem.

"I can't tell you how many times I've had to give someone a hug as part of my mentoring and teaching and tell them "you'll be right". We think it's all about money and dollars and finance, but the reality is lots of people are struggling to survive and contribute and they feel like noone cares about them," he said.

"There's a lot of hurt out there, there's a lot of people giving up."

Kaff also believes such a program would be able to bring together baby boomers who have skills but are phasing out of the economy with younger people who are struggling to get work.

Part of his plan is a focus on the arts as business.

"A lot of people think arts aren't important, they never get treated as a serious issue. But where does creativity come from in our culture? Where does innovation happen?"

Kaff, who himself has been involved in amateur theatre, points to arts organisations who work with people with disabilities as an example of "fiscal responsibility with social conscience".

"We need holistic solutions to the problems in our economy," he said.

Follow MySmallBusiness on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn

Tags, , , , , ,

SmartCompany interviews Michael Kaff (27 May 2016)


Below is an interview I had with SmartCompany last Friday. I highly recommend SmartCompany's e-newsletter and website for news and views on business and related areas.

Meet Michael Kaff, the small business owner running as an independent senate candidate for Queensland in the 2016 federal election


Friday, May 27 2016

Queensland small businesses could have more support after the coming federal election if independent senate candidate Michael Kaff is elected.

Kaff told SmartCompany Queensland’s Gold Coast has been without a senator for 32 years and if his election bid is successful, he would give the region it’s first upper house representation since then.

Kaff’s campaign focus is on small business support, as well as inspiring startups and entrepreneurship across Queensland.

His passion for small business comes from experience: he owned and operated an accounting practice called Kaff & Co in Sydney when he was younger, selling it in 1992.

More recently, Kaff has taught at colleges and TAFEs, and currently runs Boomer Business Basics, a mentoring and training service for Baby Boomers returning to the workplace.

Kaff registered as an independent candidate last Wednesday and says he his campaign has been going “slowly but surely” to date.

“I’m just trying to get out there as much as I can, I’ve been chatting to a lot of people and they like what I stand for”, Kaff says.

Kaff’s policies range from supporting the arts to taxation relief for small business, and he says he has no interest in being a “narrow independent.”

“I’ve had a few people tell me to narrow down my policies, like Nick Xenophon with pokies,” Kaff says.

“I have too many interests and I support too many things to be so narrow.”

Tax relief

One of Kaff’s key policies is tax relief, for both small businesses and those paying personal income tax.

“It’s good to have tax rate reduction over time, but this doesn’t support startups or entrepreneurs,” Kaff says.

“These people need a hand up, and that’s what I want to offer.”

Kaff proposes when starting up a small business, individuals should pay no tax on income in their first year of earning, followed by a reduced tax rate in their second year.

This would be restricted to individuals and not applied to incorporated businesses, to eliminate any abuse of the system.

Kaff also wants to establish a mentoring system for small businesses and entrepreneurial youth to foster new ideas coming through communities.

He says this would operate similarly to the government-run New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), but will be available to everyone.

“This will help the new business owners by giving them guidance and support, and make them less prone to failure in their early years,” Kaff says.

“We’re also planning to employ Baby Boomers as mentors in order to benefit from their years of knowledge and get them back into the workforce.”

Interest-free loans 

Another helping hand for businesses could come through as interest-free loan offers, says Kaff.

Having ran two businesses, Kaff says he is “very much aware of the challenges that owners face”.

“If you haven’t got money to buy your assets, it’s quite difficult to get your business off the ground,” Kaff says.

“I want [government] to offer no- or low-interest loans, so small businesses can build their businesses and pay their money back over time.”

Kaff says this initiative would leave businesses with more money to invest back into the community and enable them to employ more people.

“It’s all about making people self-sufficient, and supporting people who want to give back,” he says.

The arts

Coming from a background as a performing artist, Kaff is also a firm believer of supporting innovation through the arts.

“I want to get involved with projects that are going to employ other artists, I’m very passionate about supporting the arts,” Kaff says.

Kaff believes artistic endeavours allow young entrepreneurs to think outside the box and to think creatively, which inspires innovation in all sectors.

“It’s all about expanding on expertise, genuine entrepreneurs in all areas, they are the backbone,” he says.

Penalty rates

With industrial relations reform likely to be a key issue for anyone elected in the July 2 election, Kaff says he is in favour of reducing penalty rates, which is says would help smaller businesses.

“I really think that double time on Sundays is enough, and there shouldn’t be a difference between Saturdays and Sundays,” Kaff says.

“A reduction would allow for more people to be employed and businesses can stay open longer.”

While Kaff says he recognises the support for penalty rates from young workers, he believes the overall economy benefits outweigh the cons.

“If we’re going to support this economy, we need to take some unpopular steps and be practical,” he says.

Throughout his campaigning, Kaff says he’s seen a lot of support and received great feedback.

Although he recognises the road ahead of him is tough, he hopes Gold Coast voters will get behind him and his beliefs.

“I’ve got five weeks to get 100,000 votes, and I’m still attending talks and trying to get known,” Kaff says.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me they like what I’m standing for, and I’m just trying to look after the individuals.”

“The small guys do become the big guys eventually.”

Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is a freelance journalist with an interest in technology, startups and music.


Tags, , ,

I’m an officially registered Independent Senate Candidate for Queensland in the 2nd July election.


Well, it's official....I'm a registered Independent Senate Candidate for Queensland in the 2nd July election. Thank you to all who so generously donated $730 towards the $2,000 nomination deposit fee.

The next step of course it to get the exposure so that more people know that we're working together to support Small Business and Start-ups, Baby Boomers and Retirees, Disabilities and Disability Enterprises, Culture and the Arts, Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship, Education and Training and so much more...

To do this we will need an election fund and people getting the message out there.

Please encourage everyone you know to make a tax deductible DONATION at www.mkaff.net so that we can be seen and known by the broader electorate.

Forward this post, share the "Send Michael Kaff to the Senate" Facebook page and share the website www.mkaff.net to every one you know as well as organisations and groups.

I may be looking to be the first Gold Coast based Senator in 34 years but I will be representing and supporting all Queenslanders and Australians in the Federal Senate.

There are only 5 and a half weeks to go. Please make this an urgent priority so that we can get over the line and help to;

K eep
A ustralia
F air and
F ree.

Thank you all.


Send Michael Kaff to the Senate's photo.

Tags, , ,

Getting closer to the $2,000 target for Wednesday!


We're getting closer to the $2,000 we need for Wednesday to register as a Federal Senate Candidate. $720 and counting.

Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your colleagues, tell your pets to go to the front page of www.mkaff.net and make a tax deductible DONATION.

Any amount will be warmly received. Remember, this isn't just about the Gold Coast...this isn't just about Queensland....This is about have your voice in the Federal Parliament so that ALL Australians can be heard.

Keep Australia Fair and Free

Go on, make a tax deductible DONATION today of any amount from $2 upwards.

Tags, , , ,

Give the North Queensland Cowboys the stadium they deserve!


I simply can't understand why the Rugby League Premiers, the North Queensland Cowboys, have not been given funding for a new stadium.

It is such a vital part of North Queensland's culture and well-being. It will also bring more jobs, players and participants to an area devastated by job losses of late.

What do they have to do to get what they deserve?

This would be a great investment, not an expense!

Come on Malcolm and Bill, wake up! Give North Queensland what it deserves!

Tags, , , , ,

I love it when my Wests Tigers get a win!


Life is never all about work! I love my sport and still play squash. I played Rugby League and Rugby Union as a youngster and even received goal kicking coaching from the Tigers training staff. That certainly takes me back! : )

Tags, , , ,

Have you checked out the Foxtel Arts Channel 132 as yet?


The positive effects of the Arts is immense. The flow-on effects for the economy, our culture, our well-being as a society, for creativity, innovation and invention are immeasurable.

We should not only support the Arts, we should be downright angry that the Arts, which is a fundamental part of our very existence, is diminished by government and relegated down to a place where it is regarded as some sort of inconvenient annoyance that must get at least some funding to keep the artists happy!

We must support the Arts and help them to become self-supporting enterprises, where possible, that employ gifted Australians and others.

The gifts we all receive from the Arts, in many forms every day, need to be reflected back so that the Arts can flourish and grow. We all love music, movies, live performances, galleries, exhibitions, craft, stories, poems etc., but these endeavours and activities cannot survive without us, the people. They are a gift to us all and we must give back.

See the "Culture and The Arts" page for more on this topic at www.mkaff.net

Let's get that Independent voice into parliament that will stand up for the Arts. The Independent voice that is not subject to manipulation, influence, party politics or coercion.

Let's get our voice, Michael Kaff, into the Federal Senate on 2nd July.

Michael is running as an Independent Queensland Senate candidate but as such will be representing the Arts for all Australians.


The Foxtel Arts channel 132 exhibits Art in all its forms. I commend this channel to every artist, performer, creative, audience member or anyone with an interest in the Arts. Well worth visiting on Foxtel.



Tags, , , , ,

Doing my bit to help out!


I get great satisfaction giving blood. Every donation helps 3 people.

Please donate either plasma or whole blood at a Red Cross blood bank near you.

They really look after you and they even give you a drink and snack afterwards or a snack bag to take home.

I am only allowed to give whole blood and that's every 3 months...it's technical : )

Let's all help each other in any way we can. Somebody's donation could save YOUR life or that of your loved-one some day.

IMAG0602 me1

Tags, , , ,

A moment in my classroom


I'm a Business Trainer now-a-days and this is my usual workplace!

Tags, , , , , , , , ,

The invisible aged: the people politics forgot


It happens to all of us who are fortunate enough not to succumb to fatal disease, accident, assault or some other form of early death....We get older!

As children and in youth, we generally don't think about dying.  Even less do we consider that the "oldies" can possibly feel like we do or even have an inkling of what we are "going through".  The aged seem almost to be another species to whom we find it difficult to relate and who often seem so stupid that they either can't or won't accept, adapt to or feel comfortable with current technology.

We may respect and love our aged relatives, but rarely do we accept them as our equals or capable of feelings and understandings such as we have at the time.

Age doesn't creep up on you, rather it jumps out & startles you one day when you least expect it and are unlikely to be prepared for it.  Sure we can feel the change happening, but we put it down to fatigue, circumstances or lack of exercise. Any reason will do, except the truth!

There are various signs that confirm that it has arrived: the need for glasses or hearing aids; the lack of energy, the lack of mobility or flexibility that you always took for granted; the forgetfulness; the frustration at the disappearance of products, packaging, presentation and civilities to which you've been accustomed and the forgetfulness...again! I'm sure that the older among us could add much to this list.

Most aged people manage to adapt to all those aspects, sometimes easily and sometimes not so easily, even the harshest of them, such as loss of income, loss of friends or partners and loss of position. These people and "things" seem to be all that give us credibility and respect in our society today. We can often forget that true strength comes from within, but we all need external factors to help lift us up and carry us through life.

The most striking affliction, as you age, is the realisation that you've become invisible.  Not only are you no longer attractive, eligible, employable, good fun or worth being around, but, just as motorists don't see motor-cyclists even when they are wearing bright clothes, the aged become invisible to the younger portion of society.

There can, however, be benefits to this invisibility.  Ageing is not all bad - or, at least, not necessarily bad. Not being seen can allow you to live your life without criticism, interference or interruption. It's freedom and we all enjoy being free.

Unfortunately for many aged persons, life can be a lonely place. It seems that today there is little respect for the wisdom of the aged and little demand to include the valuable contribution they could bring to decision-making and organisation in our communities.

Aged people continue to demonstrate that such is a fact by contributing endless hours to voluntary work and assisting others but even that is generally considered to be "therapy" for them rather than a real contribution to the better functioning of society.

So, next time you see an old person with ancient hollow eyes, don't just walk on by, say: "hello in there, "hello".

(Acknowledgment to Joan Baez for one of the most moving renditions of the song, "Hello in there."


If you needed confirmation that the elderly have been forgotten, you only need to look at the 2016 budget and its attack on residents of aged care facilities

Source: The invisible aged: the people politics forgot | John Watkins | Opinion | The Guardian  with additions  and minor amendments by Michael Kaff

Tags, , , , , , , ,