Former Prime Minister of Australia
Paul Keating was Prime Minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996, after being Treasurer from 1983 to 1991. His economic reforms internationalised the Australian economy and included a market-set exchange rate, full deregulation of maturity and term controls on bank deposits and lending, and the virtual complete abolition of all tariffs on manufacturing.
As Prime Minister abolished the century-long practice of centralised wage fixing in favour of a productivity enhancing enterprise bargaining system in the labour market. This doubled trend productivity for over a decade.
Along with macroeconomic reforms, Paul Keating also introduced a universal, mandatory system of fixed contributions to superannuation leading to a national pool of savings now approaching $3 trillion. His microeconomic reforms included the major post-war reforms to the Australian taxation system – a system which remains in place today.
He also worked towards an inclusive social policy, arguing the case for Australia to become a republic, driving the enactment of the Native Title legislation and employing foreign policy to secure Australia’s future in Asia.
Since leaving politics in 1996, he has been an occasional contributor to the contemporary national and international debate including on the economy, geopolitics, foreign affairs and urban design. He is the progenitor of the Barangaroo project on Sydney Harbour, including its romantic Headland Park. Among other city initiatives, he was responsible for the Commonwealth purchase of the Badgery’s Creek airport site in Sydney in 1986 and personally redesigned the ground plane and colonnade of Sydney’s East Circular Quay.
Keynote 1: Super – the next horizon