Keynote Four: Economics

In the past 15 years, Australia has been battered by two major economic disruptions: the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21. The Australian government, like many others, responded with massive stimulus to prevent an even worse economic disaster. The idea was that when we came out of the financial crisis, the stimulus would be paid back. It never was.

The result is that the fastest growing area of government expenditure is interest on debt – it’s even faster than the NDIS, Gonski schools, age- and child-care, and defence spending. Add to this the high costs associated with the ageing of the population and the move to a carbon-free future. Meanwhile, the inconvenient truth of sticky inflation is now colliding with the federal government’s promises to get wages moving again. 

What’s needed is an urgent rethink of policy settings to sharpen the incentives to save, invest, hire and build businesses. That requires a serious supply-side productivity agenda, including reforms to a tax system that over-penalises initiative and to an outdated industrial relations system that prevents businesses from tuning their workplaces into the competitive advantage needed to sustain a high-wage economy. 


Director and Founder of the Centre for Independent Studies

Professor of Public Policy and Director, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University


Sociologist, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
Author of The New Authoritarianism

Director, Free Market Foundation, (Hungary)

Health Director, Health and BioSecurity, CSIRO

Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, London, (UK)

Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group

Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative (NZ)

Australian writer and columnist for the News Limited Press

Research Director, CIS

Programme Co-ordinator of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Western Australia

Chinese Canadian human rights advocate

Senior Research Fellow, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

CEO and Founding Director, China Matters

Former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives and Cabinet Minister

Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, and Professor of History, Australian Catholic University

Cancer researcher and clinical oncologist, with Genesis Care Newcastle

Founder and President, Middle East Forum, publisher Middle East Quarterly Journal, (US)

Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne

Senior Research Fellow and Director, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

Internationally acclaimed novelist and journalist, (US)

Head of Economic Research, Reserve Bank of Australia

Executive Director, CIS

Professor of Economics at Stanford University; Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and Chair of the Working Group on Economic Policy, (US)

UQ-CSIRO Chair in Personalised Nanodiagnostics, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

Diplomat, American Board of Pathology

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure

Liberal Party Member for Berowra

Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing

Director of China and Free Societies program, CIS

Senior Research Scholar, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, (US)