Good afternoon and thank you for the warm welcome. Let me also thank the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce for giving me the opportunity to talk to you today.
This is the second time I have had the privilege of speaking to the Chamber – the last, in Sydney, was put to me as a KGB Interrogation.
Alan Kohler, Bob Gottliebsen and Steve Batholomuesz made it a little more enjoyable than that but I am very pleased to be here today and have the opportunity to speak to you on my own terms. What I want to do this afternoon is share my views on the current state of the global economy.
I’m also going to explore what this means for businesses who intend to not only survive, but to thrive in what is proving to be the most difficult set of economic conditions the world has faced since the 1930s. Even before the current crisis when the world economy was going through a once in a generation boom, it’s worth reflecting that Australian public companies like other listed companies around the world found the going difficult.
Every decade, an average of 12 companies disappeared from the list of the 20 largest companies in Australia. If this was the average in the good times, what are things going to look like in this decade? One thing that strikes me in the Southern Hemisphere is how little understanding there is about the depth of the global recession.
I think this is a serious problem because it does colour the debate in Australia and other countries like New Zealand.