World Leaders Focus on Australia

This month sees several political leaders visiting our shores, most of who are here for the G20 Leaders’ Summit. The event provides political leaders a valuable opportunity to discuss diverse global economic issues and come together as one to help improve people’s lives the world over. Political identities include Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and India’s rock star Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who spoke to packed, excited crowds at Allphones Arena at Olympic Park in Sydney. Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi visited Italian optical fibre manufacturer Prysmian in Cromer and demurred when asked about the quality of beaches in Sydney and Italy, choosing not to pick one over the other because ‘Italian people vote’ he said with a smile.

Leaders of Singapore, France, New Zealand, Myanmar and Senegal will also be arriving in Australia on the weekend to fulfil official duties and hopefully get out and about with Australians as our summer approaches. The most famous of our overseas visitors this November was Barak Obama who flew out during the week after his speech for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane where he confronted our prime minister, Tony Abbott, over Australia’s lack of commitment when it comes to climate change. Mr Obama also used the address to announce a $US3 billion contribution to an international fund helping poor countries cope with the ramifications of climate change. Not surprisingly, his comments were given prominent coverage. Indeed, with such a mix of charismatic leaders in town, a lively and impressive month is guaranteed.

Considered the third most powerful leader in the world, Chinese president Xi Jinping is also in Australia visiting most states and joked that he should receive a certificate for his Australian travels. Officially here to participate in the formality for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed after nearly ten years of negotiation, the agreement sees those in the mining sector, dairy farmers industry and wine exporters reaping the benefits. The signed agreements will also benefit Tasmania in taking advantage of the growing economy of China’s middle classes through wine and food exports, tourism and trade, and renewable energy aims. Mr Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, have been touring Hobart to meet with primary school children after they sent him a hand-written letter in Chinese arousing his curiosity. Before lunch with the acting governor, Mr Xi and his wife were treated to ‘cuddles’ with a baby Tasmanian devil and a Tasmanian-made lavender bear, which is popular with Chinese tourists.

As November draws to a close and the politicians fly out of Australia, their presence will have been felt as we reap the fiscal benefits, none more so than Brisbane whom the Sydney Morning Herald reported will reap $100 million in economic benefits from the G20 conference. The Summit has provided a platform for new business and research collaborations to network potentially generating innovation, ideas and research for the future.


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