Peter Costantini OAM, Managing Director
Our 31st Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese had a flying start in his new job (excuse the pun). He was on a plane immediately after being sworn in to attend the Quad Security meeting being held in Japan, working alongside the US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He was then off to Indonesia to meet with President Joko Widodo, followed shortly after by the NATO summit in Madrid meeting the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Whilst most new Prime Ministers spend time initially more focused on domestic priorities, Anthony Albanese grabbed the opportunity to strongly reposition Australia in the international stage – and by any objective measure, he did this well. The Prime Minister’s efforts were supported by the work of Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong who prioritised much needed visits to our neighbouring Pacific nations.
And now we are in the first sitting week of the 47th Parliament. The new government has quickly restated its legislative priorities and is in a hurry to drive their reform agenda. Priorities include establishing a Federal ICAC, abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission, establishing Jobs and Skills Australia, new climate change legislation enshrining the 43% emissions reduction target, aged care reforms, domestic violence support through paid leave, and work on taking the Uluru statement to a referendum this term.
At the same time Treasurer Jim Chalmers has started his balancing act, working out how the country will pay for the new reforms together with the day-to-day cost of running the country – this includes driving cost savings across major portfolios. The 6.1% CPI year to June figure and impacts on cash rates will flow through the economy, as will the continuing Covid pandemic, the global energy price shocks, and ongoing supply chain issues. It all points to an October budget that will bring pain to middle Australia.
Finally, and on a more positive note, our warmest congratulations go to the 32nd Speaker of the House of Representatives Milton Dick. Milton has been a great friend of the SAS Group since we established in 2009. Our founding Chairman, the late Hon Con Sciacca AO, was a strong supporter and mentor to Milton during his early political career. The Speaker is a position of high honour, and it was terrific to see Milton take his place on the Speaker’s chair.