Will the new normal of running government and business through video meetings change the face of our democracy and economy?
We think so, at least for the foreseeable future. Nowhere is this more evident than in Federal Parliament where history is being made with the first ever ‘hybrid’ sitting where some members are connecting through video conferencing technology. With restrictions either coming into or exiting the ACT, some members have had to self-isolate for two weeks prior to sitting, and some will have to do likewise following their time in Canberra.
In Queensland the LNP has noted the impact this will have on its Federal MPs being unavailable to support local campaigns given the need to self-isolate upon return to the State. But the same goes for the ALP with its MPs also heading for isolation on return. Queenslanders go to the polls on Saturday 31st October, and whilst COVID is sucking up most media oxygen, pressure is mounting on the ALP for an economic recovery plan including from within its own quarters with a former Premier, a senior former advisor and the CFMEU coming out critically over the last two weeks.
Back to the Federal arena, in previous Inside Word editions, we have discussed the growing application of national interest coming out of COVID-19 in industry policy, including supply chain security for Australian business and citizens. As part of this agenda, the Prime Minister has announced moving to introduce for the first time a national interest test for deals made between States and Territories, Councils, cities and public universities with foreign nations. This comes on the back of last week’s revelations about publicly funded university research patents being assigned to foreign nations and Federal concerns about Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement. Careful balancing is essential in navigating the obligations and expectations of our trade relations, our critical international markets and suppliers, along with the need to protect the sovereign interests of our nation.
It has been a busy month at the SAS Group and I thank all of our wonderful clients and friends of the firm for your continued trust and support. To all of you, and especially for those of you in isolation in your homes in Victoria and elsewhere, I wish you all the best for the month ahead.