Who do you get from business -- which captain of industry -- to enlighten us about the budget?
Here’s proof positive of the malaise that besets our once-clever country. In the lead-up to the budget last Monday, ABC radio’s “The World Today” interviewed just one senior business identity for their view on what the economy needed from the government. It was Gerry Harvey.
In a progressive, innovative, competitive country – like Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ireland or Finland perhaps – you’d expect to hear from CEOs in smart, export-oriented industries, such as biotech, energy, IT or communications. But in Australia, the most influential magnate we have is a consumer goods retailer. Isn't it really pathetic that a country's economy can be so dominated by the retail sector? No wonder the chief economic policy lever in Australia is the blunt instrument of interest rates.
And to add insult to injury for those of us who wish we were cleverer, when interest rates are hiked to slow things down, the Gerry Harveys of the world proudly proclaim it's not making any difference to them. Nope, sales just keep on keep rising!