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From our President Laurence Strano

2017 will no doubt go down in the record books as a year of living popularly. A time when politics eclipsed economics. Equal marriage eclipsing for example Indigenous issues. Companies awaiting firm investment guidelines and policies. The request by the Treasurer: “Pay higher wages, Morrison tells bosses” (AFR 11 September) is symptomatic .Nowhere in sight are considerations such as making it easier for business by reducing regulations and cutting red tape ,or meaningful efforts to lift productivity. The focus is on infighting politically rather than bipartisan governing and competing on popular issues. The court is still out on whether tax cuts are politically palatable .Similarly the issue as to whether we should be moving more strongly on global matters such as climate change and reconsidering whether to support or pursue a reduction in nuclear activity have been relegated to positions of lesser focus in the interim (maybe next year?). The key question is whether we have a large public that is very susceptible to simplistic slogans by candidates. Only the next election will tell.

Laurence writes in the Australian Financial Review

One can be excused for thinking the US according t o media is being run by one man.The Article “Don’t bash Trump on trade :S&P ” (AFR 31 August) was symptomatic of this .The issue really becomes whether the US has on balance benefited from its role in globalization and whether those who have been left behind are collateral damage . If this is the case then the issue is whether the deliverer
Is to blame ie free trade or whether the gains can be better distributed and the real policies can be articulated better.

2017 Year of Optimism

“Portents of a dark age” by Andrew Clarke over Xmas (AFR 22-27 Dec) provided a wonderful portrayal of the glass half full approach of our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. What an outstanding job she has done to date. Her optimism and statement of Australia taking advantage as opportunities arise and a prediction of a stronger role for Australia in 2017 is most praiseworthy. The dark age as alluded to surely refers to the problems of 2016 hopefully left behind as terrorism madness and criminal activity finally is resulting in global attempts to eradicate it and following the implementation of more vigilant internal security measures. One can only heap a lot of praise on internal and external security forces. Australia’s 2017 role on the international stage via membership of groups such as G20 and Asian Regional Forum and East Asian Summit will be most important in calming the rough waters in the China South Sea and coping with North Korea. Australia’s role in balancing relationships and building cooperation will be very significant in 2017.We are lucky to have a Foreign Minister who “radiates her optimistic zeitgeist”(spirit of the time)

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