It was an interesting day as 12 of San Francisco’s old brigade of expats assembled at the inaugural “The Aussie Club” lunch arranged by the Australian American Chamber of Commerce. Held in the Fountain Room at The Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, we discussed the top issues impacting Australia. Hosted by The Honourable Nigel Warren – Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner for Australia, the eloquent and very experienced Mr. Jack Ritch, Chairman of Asia Pacific Airport Corporation (the owner of Melbourne Airport) gave a comprehensive and insightful summary of the Australian political and business landscape.
Top issues were the lack of political leadership and for me, the issues surrounding the long term immigration and detention of what the Americans call “illegal aliens”. Particularly, I am concerned about how our international friends and business partners see our mistreatment of people who are refugees. Despite being in dialogue with our neighbours in the Asia Pacific area, there is no clear plan on how to manage this in the longer term. Politicians need to realize this is of critical importance.
Mining tax, Carbon tax and other internal political manifestations are domestic affairs that will be debated and finalized. The big issue is the modernity of the Australian brand in the international community and how to ensure that it is advanced with the fast pace of economic growth our wonderful country is achieving.