2019 has been a busy and productive year for the AAA Business Council. We welcomed new Directors, Georgina Duckworth and Rory Linehan, and doubled the number of events from 2018.
We kicked off the year in Boston for a Business Roundtable Lunch with Australia’s Ambassador to the U.S, the Hon. Joe Hockey. Hosted by State Street, the Roundtable saw business leaders based in the Boston region come together for an insightful discussion with the Ambassador about the US-Australia relationship and key issues encountered by attendees as they navigate running their businesses in the United States.
Later in February, members braved a snowstorm as we joined with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to present Lessons from the C-Suite at WeWork in New York, featuring Business Council member, Nick Stone of Bluestone Lane. Jeremy Olshan, Editor in Chief of Market-Watch led a fascinating discussion with Nick about his journey from professional AFL player, to investment banker, to CEO & Founder of Bluestone Lane.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, the Business Council celebrated the incredible and dynamic group of women that drive our member companies with dinner at the home of Ms. Claudine Revere. Treasury Wine Estates provided the wine for the Celebration of American Australian Women of Business and shared the little-known story of Mary Penfolds, pioneer winemaker and founder of Penfolds Winery.
On April 16 the Annual Business Council CEO Summit was held at Business Roundtable in Washington DC. As the marquee Business Council event for the year, 40 CEO’s came together to discuss the US-Australia relationship. We were proud to launch Australia and the United States: State of the Economic Union, a report presented by the United States Studies Centre and Indiana University examining the economic relationship between our two countries. Following the launch were discussions with the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Kevin Hassett; Reserve Bank representative Michael Plumb; The US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and the National Economic Council Director, Larry Kudlow. Ambassador Hockey hosted the group for dinner at his residence, White Oaks, where White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney spoke and entertained questions, as well as extended conversations with Administration officials who also attended the dinner. We are in the process of finalizing the 2020 program and are looking forward to building on all that came out of this year’s summit.
We were back in Washington DC in June discussing infrastructure and asset recycling at the Embassy of Australia. Joined by Deputy Ambassador Katrina Cooper, AAA President Amb. John Berry moderated a discussion between Representative Rick Larsen, Representative Garret Graves and CFO of the District of Columbia, Jeff DeWitt.
September kicked off a busy period for the Business Council of Australian Government visits, beginning with the arrival of Australian Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison in the United States for an official state visit. We hosted the Prime Minister and his wife Jenny for a cocktail reception at Sidley Austin LLP in New York. Guests included Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Ambassador Joe Hockey and his wife and AAA Vice-Chair, Melissa Babbage, along with business leaders and members of the Business Council. We were proud to continue the AAA tradition of hosting every Australian Prime Minister since 1948.
Simultaneously in Sydney, we were co-hosting a Private Economic Forum with Austrade and AmCham for the visiting delegation from the National Governors Association (NGA) led by Governor Hogan of Maryland. Guests had the opportunity to hear about investment-ready projects followed by a VIP lunch to network with the state leaders.
Next up we were in Chicago hosting a roundtable breakfast focused on the Australia-US Space Alliance, with guest speaker, Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA, Ms. Melanie Saunders at the Australian Consulate-General Chicago. Guests listened to presentations from Ms. Saunders and Mr. Tim Bradley of the Australian Embassy which gave an insightful update on the expected 2024 return to the moon and the Australian Space Agency’s commitment to continuing Australia’s space alliance with NASA.
Treasurer the Hon. Josh Frydenberg visited Washington DC for the IMF/World Bank meetings in October and joined the Business Council at Citi for a closed-door discussion over lunch with Business Council members. Attendees were able to ask the Treasurer direct questions in an intimate setting, hear updates on current trade and investment opportunities and discuss regulatory barriers for businesses operating across Australia and the United States.
The Business Council met again in New York for a Frontier Technologies Roundtable Lunch with the Hon. Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science & Technology hosted by J.P. Morgan. Moderated by Tania Yuki, CEO & Founder of Shareablee, guests participated in a lively discussion with the Minister about shifting challenges that are facing our society and the importance of education in preparing the next generation for the new economy.
We finished off the year with a visit from Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon. Matthew Canavan. Hosted by K & L Gates in Washington DC for a breakfast meeting with the Minister and moderated by Richard Cohen of Rio Tinto, senior government officials and US and Australian business leaders used the Critical Minerals Dialogue to discuss issues, concerns and opportunities burgeoning the sector.
The AAA Business Council is building an exciting program for 2020 and looks forward to engaging further with our members in New York and beyond.