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Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Crown Towers, Southbank, Melbourne, 18 August 1999: transcript of address [and] Questions and answers [and] Presentation of Leon Liberman Award.

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18 August 1999






SUBJECTS: taxation reform, business taxation sys tem, Ralph Report, Asian-Pacific region, Australia’s relationship with Israel.

Thank you very much Chris for that very warm and generous introduction. To Leon Kempler, to his Excellency the Ambassador to Australia from Israel, Sir Zelman Cowen, the former Governor-General of Australia, my ministerial and parliamentary colleagues, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Ian Macfarlane, and many distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is for me a particular honour and pleasure to be at this lunch. And there are a number of things I want to say about the connection I feel I have with the Chamber and what the Chamber represents in terms of relations between the people of Australia and the people of Israel.

But I think it is appropriate for me to say at the very beginning that I know that I speak on behalf of all of you here, and I know millions of Australians, in expressing to the Government and the people of Turkey our immense sadness at the enormous natural disaster which has overtaken that country. I’ve asked the relevant sections of our Government to assess what assistance Australia can provide to the Government and to the people of Turkey and I know that the thoughts of many Australians and most particularly those within our community who have family links with Turkey will be very much with the people who are suffering as a result of this terrible natural disaster.

Ladies and gentlemen my pleasure in being here today and the honour I feel in being invited to address this lunch is based in no small measure than on the association at a personal level I’ve had, long pre-dating my entry into public life, with the Jewish people of Australia and the profound admiration that I’ve had for the State of Israel and what that country has achieved since it’s formation in 1948 in such adversarial and difficult circumstances. And I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve led a government which has, whilst its kept its eye very clearly on the maintenance of a fair and just peace in the Middle East, is a Government that has always in terms of its voting record in the United Nations and generally in a diplomatic sense deported itself in a way that is profoundly sympathetic and understanding towards the Government and the people of Israel. And the Australian Government has always understood the difficulties faced by the State of Israel and has pursued policies which are conducive to a further understanding of that.

I welcome very warmly the message that was sent to this luncheon by the newly elected Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak. He starts with a very large mandate and I can say from personal experience its always good to have your first term in government with a very large majority because you’re bound in the course of taking decisions that are important to the future of your country and the long term stability of your government, you are bound to take some decisions that are going lose you a few friends and lose you a bit of support. I look forward to the Prime Ministership of Mr Barak. I wish him well. I know that he will pursue a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and I know that it is the desire of not only of my government but of all Australians of goodwill that there be that peace which recognises the legitimate rights, not only of the State of Israel and the people of Israel, but also the legitimate rights of other nations and other peoples within the Middle East.

The relationship between Australia and Israel is a very close relationship. It is a relationship built on some common values. It is a relationship built on the common value of our commitment to individual liberty and freedom. Israel has been since her foundation a beacon of democracy and liberty in the Middle East. We share those values and those aspirations with Israel and our two peoples feel close as a consequence. We have of course very special links through the vibrant character of the Jewish community in Australia, but not only that but also because of the great respect so many Australians feel towards Israel and what Israel has achieved over the last 50 years.

We have substantial economic links. But those economic links can be advanced and I’m glad that the information technology delegation that was led by Richard Alston to Israel was seen in such a highly successful light and I hope that the delegation dealing with agribusiness, which will shortly go to Israel, led by Phil Scanlan of Bonlac will be equally successful because in those two areas in particular, information technology and agribusiness, there is much to be shared between our two nations and our two societies. And it is through those sorts of links that we can build the modern 21st century characteristics of the relationship. The bonds of culture, the bonds of freedom, the people to people links, the cultural links, will always be there. But as Dr Johnstone exhorted us to do we should always keep our friendships in good repair and the friendship between Australia and Israel is no exception and we must seek in every way to build new ways of deepening and widening that friendship.

And on that score I would like on behalf of the Government to address some words of thanks to you Mr Ambassador as you complete your tour of duty here in Australia. Over the last four years you have represented your country with great skill and dignity and grace. You have been a fine Ambassador for the people of Israel. You have understood the character of the relationship between our two nations and our two societies and you have interpreted in a new and fresh way the relevance of the links between our two societies as we move towards the 21st century. And I therefore thank you and your wife for the great work you have done in building even deeper links between our two societies and on behalf of everybody here I wish you well in your diplomatic and personal future as you leave this country with our immense gratitude and our immense goodwill for a job remarkably well done.

In his introductory remarks Chris Anderson was kind enough to speak of the health and the strength of the Australian economy. And I want to spend just a few moments reinforcing the importance and the relevance of the strong economic climate that has been created in Australia over the last few years.

There is little doubt that we are now experiencing the strongest economic fundamentals that Australia has seen since the late 1960s and in many ways the fundamentals are better now than they were then because then we were living in something of a world of economic unreality. We still then lived behind high tariff barriers. We lived under a centralised wage fixation system. We saw our markets as rather limited. The potential economically of the Asian Pacific region was yet to be fully realised and when we look back on those years, prosperous though they were, we could see that in a sense they were something of a calm before the economic storm which overtook the world in the 1970s with the end of fixed exchange rates, the quadrupling of oil prices and the other fundamental changes that occurred around the world.

But now 30 years on our economy has been transformed. We are now an outward looking economy. We have low tariff barriers. We have a floating exchange rate. We are very much part of the global economy. We see information technology as being at the leading edge of economic achievement as we go into the next millennium. And importantly we’ve had governments, and I say governments because I am willing to give credit to my predecessors in one or two areas where I believe they undertook reforms that have been important to the long term economic strength of this country. And I think particularly of the decisions taken to deregulate the financial system and reduce tariff levels in Australia. But we have therefore had governments and most particularly the government that I’ve had the privilege of leading over the last three and a half years that have been willing to embrace fundamental change and reform and it is no accident that we have been able to stare down the worst economic downturn Asia has ever experienced.

People often say to me that we have been lucky. Now we have been lucky. It’s a great saying about Australia - the lucky country - coined by Donald Horne. But it’s also true that you make your own luck. You make your own luck in life and you make your own luck as a nation. And we have made our own luck over the last few years. We could have squibbed it with the budget when we came into office. We could have said oh well if economic growth increases it will whirr back into surplus as somebody once famously said. We could have done that. We could have taken the easy way out in relation to industrial relations reform. We could have squibbed the fight that was needed to reform the Australian waterfront. We could have put taxation reform aside because it was too difficult. We could have gone soft on competition reform. We could have done all of those things. And if we had done all of those things, if we had sat on our economic reform hands after 1996, you would not now be experiencing the sort of buoyant business conditions that I think most Australians in business are now experiencing. And the economic strength we now have and the respect that is now afforded to Australia in international political and economic forums is no accident. It is a consequence of the policy changes that we have embraced over the last three and a half years.

A few weeks ago I was in the United States and naturally I visited not only Washington, but also the financial centre of the world New York and I found there the greatest level of respect for the strength of the Australian economy that I have encountered a t any time in the 25 years that I have been visiting that city in various political capacities. And the greatest thing to me out of what Australia has achieved over the last few years is the psychological boost it’s given all of us. We’ve always been a confident people. We’ve always been an optimistic people. But there’s also been quite a number amongst us who believe that when it gets to the rough and tumble of international economic competition sometimes we can’t cut the mustard. But what I think out capacity to stare down this Asian economic downturn has done is that it’s given to us a national self-confidence, a national self-belief, a national sense of economic achievement, the like of which this country has not had certainly not in my experience and perhaps in our experience since the end of World War II.

So we are looking at a situation where our economic fundamentals are very strong. And as I frequently say this is not a council of complacency or smugness. You climb one economic reform hill and you find another in front of you. You never rest. You can never say well we’ve had three and a half very good years. Now we’ll sit back and enjoy it and just let the economy look after itself. Once you start to do that people are entitled to ask the question are you any longer fit to be in government? Because the process of reform is an ongoing one It’s an ongoing challenge. And that is why having successfully negotiated 85 to 90 per cent of our tax package through the Parliament, and I regret the fact that we didn’t get the lot. We went to the Australian public with a package. The Australian public voted for that. I felt right up until Senator Harradine made that famous speech in the Senate I thought there was a chance of getting the lot through. And when he stood up and said "I can’t", or "I can not", I think and he didn’t. I knew that what we had to do was to sit down and negotiate with the Australian Democrats and see what we could get through.

And as a result of that negotiation we didn’t get everything but we got 85 to 90 per cent of it. And that represents the most historic change to our taxation system since Federation.

But the next shoe to fall as far as taxation reform is, of course, reforming our business taxation system. And I want first of all in my remarks about it today I want to record my immense gratitude to my friend and an eminent Australia businessman, John Ralph, who is here today, for his chairmanship and stewardship of this remarkably coherent examination of Australia’s business taxation system. I also want to thank Rick Allet and Bob Joss who assisted John Ralph in preparing this review.

It is without question the most comprehensive and detailed review of Australia’s business taxation system ever. It is not, of course, the first review that’s ever been carried out of Australia’s taxation system. We have been regularly reviewing our system now for as long as I have been in Parliament. In fact, within a few months of my coming into Parliament in 1974 we got the report of the Asprey review which was commissioned by the late Billy Snedden when he was Treasurer in the McMahon Government. And now a quarter of a century on the big thing that has changed is that governments have begun to implement reviews of our taxation system.

We have brought about fundamental change to the general taxation system. We are now about to focus on fundamental change of the business tax system. And we couldn’t have been better served by the report that John has delivered. And I want to thank him very warmly on your behalf and on behalf of the Government for the tremendous dedication that he has brought to the task over the last nine or ten months.

Now, I can’t announce to you today, much as all that a few people suggested I should, I can’t announce to you today all of the decisions that the Government has taken on the review that John and his colleagues have prepared. I can however take you as best I can into my confidence, the Government’s confidence, regarding the process that we are going to bring to an examination of the review.

We have commenced the detailed examination in Cabinet of the Ralph report. We haven’t taken decisions, we still have a number of meetings to hold and quite a deal of analysis to undertake and no doubt at various stages quite a lot of questioning of members of the review group and people associated with preparation of the report.

I am able to say to you that the Australian business taxation system will undergo quite fundamental change as a result of the recommendations of the report. And without canvassing areas of the report that I cannot canvass by dint of the fact that many elements of it do have a market sensitivity and until the Government has taken a decision as to which direction to go it is inappropriate to speculate.

But I can say a number of things about the recommendations that are important for the Government’s understanding and I hope the business community’s understanding of it. And that is first and foremost it’s very cohesive and integrated. It represents a total road map of the way forward so far as our taxation system is concerned. It’s not one of those reports that, sort of, puts and takes and where you end up with something that lacks coherence and lacks integration. It’s a report that quite properly is designed to make this country competitive in the 21 st century.

And I frequently say at gatherings like this that we are, for better or for worse, we are part of the global world economy. Those who think that in some way we can go back to the old days of shutting out the world and letting it pass us by are deluding themselves. We can’t do that. And if we are to survive and if we are to do better than we are doing at the present time then, of course, we have to be part of the global economy. And that means we have to make investment decisions in this country as attractive as possible. It means that when we are looking at something like the capital gains tax, which I and the Government believe does need significant change and reform, we need to look at the attractiveness not only of Australians making investment in this country but also the attractiveness of Australia for people elsewhere to make investments. When we are looking at the attractiveness of Australia as a country in which to invest we must also look at the capacity of Australian companies to invest abroad and the value of the returns those Australians get from investing abroad.

It is no secret that one of the issues that we need to resolve and one of the issues that’s been a matter of very significant public debate in Australia over the last few months is, of course, the question of whether or not we might as a community opt for a lower general company tax rate, say 30 per cent, paid for in part by the removal of some existing provisions in the taxation legislation such as accelerated depreciation.

Now, this has quite legitimately raised debate from within the business community about the relative impact on sectors. And that’s a proper debate. If you are a manufacturer you will bring a particular view to tax reform. If you are in the service industries you will bring another view. If you are in the mining industry you will bring yet a third view.

But it’s important not only as we assess those competing claims, it’s also important when the business community assesses those competing claims that they don’t look at one section of taxation reform in isolation. It’s not good enough for the manufacturers to say, well, I’ll look at the impact on us, of say a lower company tax rate and less accelerated depreciation, without also looking at the aggregate impact of taxation reform generally. Because I think it is fair to say that what has already gone through the Parliament has in relative terms been of greater advantage to some sections of the business community than it has been to other sections.

And what is important therefore when the Government reaches its decision as well as when business reaches its decision that all of us take into account the aggregate impact, the integrated impact, the whole impact of taxation reform and all aspects of it on the operations of business.

I know that there is intense interest and speculation not only in the media but within the business community. And we are keen to take our decisions, to announce them and to see them implemented as soon as possible. But it is also desirable that we get tho se decisions right. You don’t get one or two bites of business taxation reform. The opportunity that is in front of us at the moment is an opportunity that comes only once in a generation. And just as we took time to take our decisions in relation to general taxation reform and the result turned out to be a very positive one so it is with business taxation reform that we will take not an inordinate amount of time but we will take the right amount of time in order to reach the right decision.

We will involve those in the community who should be involved in discussions to the appropriate degree. Can I point out that there has already been very extensive consultation between John and his committee and members of the business community in putting this reform proposal together.

I find it very difficult on an occasion like this or indeed any other occasion when I am addressing a gathering of men and women who are involved in business in Australia to talk without turning a great sense of optimism and enthusiasm indeed excitement about the economic prospects that lie in front of this country.

Chris said in his remarks that we occupy a very special place in the world. I have often said that Australia occupies a unique intersection. We are a nation that has deep links with the people and the nations of Europe. We are in many ways a projection of western civilisation in this part of the world. We share great democratic and liberal values in the broader sense of that word with the countries of North America.

But here we are geographically in the Asian-Pacific region. And our cultural and political and other life is being enriched by the contribution of hundreds of thousands of Australians of Asian descent and Asian background. And when you put all of that together you find a country that is really quite unique. There is no other society in the world that has that combination of background, of values, that intersection of geography and history that Australia has. And it provides to us not only a tremendous economic opportunity but it provides to us a tremendous political opportunity. And the great change that I have felt as Prime Minister of Australia over the last few years as I have visited the nations particularly of our region is that the view of Australia has changed. Because of our economic achievement and strengths we are seen with a new respect. We no longer ask ourselves those rather silly questions of whether we are part of Asia, whether we are Asian, whether we are in Asia or we’re enmeshed with Asia. What is happening now is we are just being ourselves as Australians in Asia. And we are finding, I think to our advantage, that we are no longer seen as the anxious outsider seeking admission into the rich club of Asia and the Pacific. Rather, we are seen as a very confident, self-assured, successful, where appropriate compassionate partner in the Asian-Pacific region.

I am proud of the fact that we were strong enough economically to be, along with Japan, the only country in the world that contributed to the IMF bail-outs of Indonesia, Korea and Thailand. I am proud of the fact that we are seen in this part of the world as punching above our weight. Most of all, I am proud of the fact that we are seen as doing it with that special combination of unique Australian values that our history, our geography and our cultural inheritance has given us.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank the Chamber for the invitation to be here today. I salute those in the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce for the contribution they make to the vibranc y and the success of the business community in Australia. Many people in this room today have made a massive contribution to the economic strength and the economic vitality of our country. You have enriched the quality of the country’s business life and many of you have also made a massive contribution to the quality of Australia’s cultural life.

As Prime Minister of Australia I am very conscious of that. I honour that contribution and I warmly thank you for what you are doing for Australia and in particular in the context of this gathering the great and enduring links between the people of Austral ia and the people of Israel. Thank you.


18 August 1999






David Griffiths from Macquarie Bank. A question for Mr Howard. If we look at the implications of the tax reform and look at particular things like accelerated depreciation and then we lay across that the Kyoto greenhouse effect and what that will have on West Australian business, it goes to the heart of a lot of our growing businesses which has driven our sector. My question is, have you looked at the regional implications of tax reform and things like the Kyoto and is there anything the Government can do to address those issues?


Well, the answer is that we are, of course, very conscious of regional implications as we look at the Ralph Committee recommendations. It is true that a number of mining companies have expressed a concern about the situation where you might have a lower rate of company tax but accelerated deprecation would be withdrawn. Not all mining companies have put that point of view. It’s also true, if you look at the analysis of the impact of taxation reform generally quite a lot of that analysis produces a situation where the benefits to the mining sector have been assessed as greater than the benefits to other sectors. And that is relevant to the exhortation I made in my earlier remarks that as people react to business tax reform and business changes I ask them to take into account the aggregate impact of taxation reform.

Now, I know the contribution of the mining industry of Western Australia to this nation’s export income. I think it’s about 25 per cent of our export income comes from the mining exports of Western Australia. And I am very conscious of that and we don’t intend to take decisions that are going to impose unfair burdens or to cripple the capacity or indeed retard the capacity of the mining industry to go on making a contribution. And I am also very conscious of the revenue climate of large mining projects in Australia. So the answer to your question shortly is, yes, I am aware of regional implications. The longer answer is the one you have just heard and we’ll certainly endeavour to put all of those things into the balance.


Good afternoon Mr Prime Minister. My name is Wolf Blass, I am the founder of Wolf Blass Wines International.


Hello Wolf.


We are part of the Fosters Corporation and I am delighted to see my friend John Ralph to be there. We are the wine State and I want to speak on behalf of the wine industry and as you are aware we just have made an announcement that we have passed $1 billion revenue….




…we have become the sixth biggest export revenue earner for Australia. However, my question is the tax reform. We at the moment are paying 41 per cent and unfortunately our delegations and people, we have seen your Treasurer, Mr Costello, have [inaudible] very strong ploy that instead we are going to get a tax reduction we will be getting an additional 4.5 to 5 per cent on the top when the GST is coming into effect in the year 2000. I only…this is not the question this is still a statement….


I hadn’t noticed Wolf.


…..$7 million revenue. And what we are trying to achieve in our delegation is still negotiating and this is going to become probably another political issue as it was in 1993 when we had to get to the Democrats to get some kind of a concession. We have got no exemption for samples [inaudible]….That’s the first question. 90 per cent of the wine industry in Australia is relying on cellar door and sampling wines which means whatever we have to give away we have to pay 46 per cent not more 41 per cent. Are we going to get a tax relief and are you, as a Prime Minister going to be willing to negotiate with the Democrats a deal? It will have a devastating impact because the wine tourism industry and regional employment is in the value of $500 million. By the way the French paying four times…..


Thank you Wolf, thank you. Wolf, on cellar door sales we are totally on your side in relation to cellar door sales and we know how important they are. Can I remind you that as we were putting the tax reform proposal together we were in receipt of very, very detailed representation from the wine industry around Australia and I think it’s fair to say that the bulk of the representations from the wine industry favoured converting to what could broadly be called an ad valorem approach rather than volumetric approach. And the great bulk of that support that was wanting to go in that direction was, in fact, coming from the State of South Australia and I think also from significant areas of New South Wales with less support for that approach and then in parts of Western Australia.

Now, we came up with an approach which we understood on the basis of those representations to be what the majority of people in the industry wanted. Now, I know that you are still continuing to talk to Peter. And he and I have discussed it and you are not only talking to him, a number of your colleagues have spoken to me. I should also remind you, of course, that what we are doing is what we said we were going to do in the tax plan that was put out before the election. I don’t think it’s quite right to suggest that we undertook to reduce the tax on wine. I know people wanted that to happen but I don’t recall having given that undertaking and I am sure Peter didn’t either. I have never known a Treasurer in history to undertake, without his arm being twisted, - and I am no exception to that I was once a Treasurer - to provide major tax reductions.

The other thing that I could say in relation to ’93, Wolf, just to protect the reputation of the Coalition in Opposition we were very staunch opponents of what the former government wanted to do in 1993. And, in fact, at the last minute we found ourselves in the rather embarrassing position of being left a bit high and dry because the industry negotiated a last minute deal with John Dawkins that rather left us like a shag on a rock. But I mean, I just have to protect my Coalition’s political reputation in the course of these things. I remember 1993 extremely well.


Mr Prime Minister, Maurice Hannon, the President of the Queensland Chapter of the Australia’s Royal Chamber of Commerce. Thank you very much for your speech and your attendance. My question has been referred to us by Richard Owen from the Courier Mail. His question is: there is a great concern within the business community about an imposition relating to the implementation of the GST legislation dealing with the Y2K problem and the pending release of the Ralph reform agenda within such a short time frame. Is the Government mindful of these concerns and what assurances can you give that corporate Australia will not be gridlocked by the quantum of change being pursued by your Government?


Well, we are, very much so. And one of the things that is influencing our consideration of the Ralph Review and the Ralph recommendations is the fact that you are having coming together Y2K, the implementation of tax reform generally and business tax reform more particularly. And we are acutely conscious of the need to avoid administrative and legislative indigestion. People have waited a long time for tax reform and we don’t in any way want to appear having got all the recommendations, got the mandate, been re-elected we don’t want to look in any way as though we are going slow on the implementation of change. But we are also very conscious of what you say, and I can assure you that the changes we make will be designed to come into effect in a way that won't cause the problem of which you speak. And that’s one of the things that we have been looking at over the last few days and one of the things that we’ll be speaking to John and his colleagues about in the weeks ahead. It is very important that you not have administrative overload. I understand the burden of change that’s involved in a big reform that is now being undertaken. I think you will all be aware that we have established an Advisory Board Chaired by Chris Jordan, a partner of KPMG from Sydney and it has on it a number of representatives of different sectors - business, the welfare sector and education. And I think that particular group will be extremely valuable in advising the Government on the impact of the changes as they come into operation.


Good afternoon from a packed venue in Sydney. Prime Minister, I am David [Inaudible] the Managing Director of Reuters in Australia. I’d like to ask you, is the plan or aspirations of Australia to become the key financial centre in Asia, is that a credible proposition for the rest of the world?


Well, I think it’s a credible proposition that Australia become a world or regional financial centre, yes. Let me tell you why. We have some generic assets that very few countries have. We have a very stable political system. Australia is one of the few countries, you could count them on the fingers of both hands, that have been continuously democratic the whole of this century. That’s the first great advantage we have. And in case any of you think that that is, sort of, something tried and now taken for granted one of the expressions that was used to me by some senior bankers in New York when comparing Australia with some other countries in the region is that we have a strong commitment to the rule of law. And that has loomed because of recent events in some of those countries, it’s loomed as a very important plus for Australia.

So we have that. We have great economic stability, we have clear rules of corporate governance, we have a very well supervised and stable banking system and the rules of prudential banking which a few years ago were, sort of, semi sneered at in Australia by some people in other parts of the region as being too restrictive and too fuddy duddy are, in fact, some of these things that are seen as enormous pluses for Australia now in the light of what has happened in our neighbouring countries. So we have very clear rules of corporate governance and a stable banking system. We speak the English language but we also have within our population we have a large number of people who have great dexterity and skill in speaking the languages of the world and most particularly the languages of our region.

On top of that, we are very conveniently placed as far as time zones are concerned. We have lower costs than a number of comparable cities in the Asian region. Undoubtedly, we have an enviable lifestyle. We are still seen as a very physically safe community by most of the world and very importantly, I think, we are seen by the world at the moment as having a Government and being a people that is prepared to embrace and implement fundamental changes and reforms.

Now, when you add all of those things together I think it is a credible aspiration. Now, where we might sit vis a vis Tokyo in the years to come will remain a matter of debate. But we do have advantages that even Tokyo doesn’t have. And I think as time goes by those advantages will become more apparent. I think it is very credible. I don’t think it’s rash or over-ambitious. I think the generic assets we have are enormous and I have outlined some of them and I certainly found in the United States a willingness to see what we were seeking to achieve in this area as being quite credible.


Presentation of Leon Liberman Award follo wing Questions and Answers.

Thank you very much. The Leon Liberman Award is dedicated to Leon Liberman who was always passionate in his commitment to develop business and investment links between Australia and Israel. He was an active supporter of the Cham ber and he had a vision of Israel as a dynamic commercial centre that would become a major bilateral trading partner with Australia

He had many business interests. As you know, he spear-headed his family’s investment in Israel in the late 1980s and he played a key role in the purchase and ongoing operations of Paz Petroleum, Israel’s largest oil company and Sahar property investments.

Before his death in 1993, Leon became a great benefactor for many worthy causes including the Mt Scopus College Foundation, medical research and Australia-Israel publications.

This award, in the form of a bronze sculpture, represents the elements of trade and in it is depicted landmasses, lines of communications, air, sea and modern facets of technology.

And I am delighted to announce today that the award dedicated to Leon Liberman is to be presented in 1999 to Mrs Jeanne and Mr Richard Pratt in recognition of outstanding services to bilateral trade, cultural exchange and goodwill between Australia and Israel. And the award bears that inscription in honour of Mr and Mrs Pratt for their remarkable contribution to those causes. And I invite Richard and Jeanne to come up so that I might make on your behalf the presentation of this very auspicious award.




jy  1999-08-23  09:49