Ross’s speech was humorous and very well received. He has certainly come out of himself since his more reserved U.T.,S. days.
He has always been extremely even-handed politically, but writing even-handedly for the Sydney Morning Herald marks him as more left than right-leaning. He began by saying how nice it was to be in a Herald stronghold, which brought lots of laughter. He had curiously attired himself in crumpled mis-matched pants and jacket and a tie in bad taste. He wore scuffed and slightly grubby sandshoes. He explained this choice of clothing to be the result of years as a chartered accountant being required to dress in a certain way. He said he had rebelled against this ever since and had dressed to please himself. My recollection is that Ross dressed fairly conservatively as a student at U.T.,S. If he hadn’t been the guest speaker he would never have been allowed in the Club as a member or member’s guest, flouting every dress code as he did.
Some of the things he said:
Australia, although outwitting the G.F.C., was due to have a recession sometime soon, having gone 24 years without one.
Labor (Wayne Swan) saved Australia from the G.F.C. in 2007 by its stimulus package, even though the Murdoch Press worked overtime to try to convince the public that it was the mining boom and nothing to do with Labor’s efforts. He said the mining boom wouldn’t have been a boom had Labor not poured money into infrastructure when the rest of the world tightened its belt. This resulted in Australia being one of only two developed nations to come through the downturn unscathed.
Ross nominated Wayne Swan as the best Treasurer Australia ever had because of that, and then he nominated him as also the worst because when we were on a even keel he kept up the spending.