The Inside Word

A Christmas ‘Wrap-Up’

Tradition and respect are two things I believe very strongly help us identify who we are and what we represent. This applies in both our personal and business lives equally. We are very lucky to live in a great country that doesn’t overplay its “greatness” (after all everyone believes their country is great). I stress this point as I believe we should have the capacity to examine where we do good and where we can be better.

In tradition I refer to the many shared histories that all Australians have from every part of the world and the very long history we now share with indigenous Australia. This together shapes our identity, who we are and how we are perceived by the rest of the world, and if nothing else how we see each other.

In respect, I refer to that mutual understanding of where we all come from, our different histories, backgrounds and cultures that together make up what it means to call ourselves Australian. There is no better time than the present, and at Christmas, to think deeply about who we are together rather than as individuals.

Australia has had a big year. We have all had a big year. A federal election and major change in government to Anthony Albanese and Labor in Canberra. More recently an election in Victoria, now our most populous state, deciding that Daniel Andrews and Labor were better placed to deliver on the future than the opposition. There are many lessons to be learned from this election but one lesson may be in leadership and tough love given the very difficult experience of Victorians during COVID lockdowns.

A year where our obsession with property has taken us to new heights of the housing shortage crisis, rental affordability and availability, and with rising interest rates to put more pressure on ordinary households that have less capacity to absorb the single biggest part of the household budget. The inflation bogeyman has lifted its head hopefully to disappear early in 2023.

A year where crypto currency finally burst with a re-evaluation of what the future holds for crypto and blockchain as characterised by the ASX dumping its long and very expensive project to use blockchain for its platform with no alternative in sight. The irony is the claim of crypto currency’s key strength being its unregulated nature out of reach from central banks, now desperately seeking government intervention and regulation to bring order and stability.

A year where we have seen geo-political issues lift to alarming levels with Russia invading Ukraine to supposedly save it from Nazis, rhetoric now replaced by destroying Ukrainian infrastructure to freeze and starve its citizens into submission. This coupled with tensions in our own backyard has created a dangerous level of tension between nations trying to navigate stability, trade and prosperity the impact of which is being felt globally and at home.

A reset for Australia under Anthony Albanese and Penny Wong having begun the process of re-engagement with our largest trading partner China and others such as France, the United States and the UK to find better ways of dealing with each other on the many issues being faced in our region and our pacific neighbours.

A year where covid has all but disappeared from our daily discourse while a new wave of infections has come to be accepted as a normal part of life and doing business. This hasn’t diminished the seriousness that COVID possesses, only the way in which we respond.

And finally a year where climate debates and renewable energy have progressed to include us at the table with the rest of the world. There are still many issues to be resolved on energy, renewables and a cleaner environment with a lot more work and leadership needed from our leaders in Canberra and the States.

Given the experience of the last two years its impossible to make predictions for the year ahead. We can hope and have expectations that inflation will come under control, that global stability is restored in whole or in part, that we have progress on energy security, and that perhaps 2023 is a much smaller year than 2022.

It’s been a big year indeed. As a firm, the SAS Group has always focused on delivering for our clients in better engaging and better understanding how to play their part in issues that affect and influence the economic and political agenda. This year proved how much more complex but valuable that process of engagement has become. With just weeks and days to the Christmas holiday season may I wish you and your family and friends all the very best and safe season as a time to relax, restore, and consider for the year ahead.

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