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Dumped FedGov chief business advisor Maurice Newman to Turnbull - focus on IR reform

Maurice Newman chaired the Federal Government's Business Advisory Council while Tony Abbott was PM.   The Council included BHP Billiton chairman ­Jacques Nasser, National Australia Bank chairman Michael ­Chaney, Grocon’s Daniel Grollo, Telstra chairwoman ­Catherine Livingstone, BlueScope chairman Graham Kraehe and former productivity chief Gary Banks.   As Mr Newman said,  "...people who are as busy as Jacques Nasser and ­Michael Chaney don’t turn up simply because they get a free lunch ...

“They turn up ­because they ­believe they are doing something in the national interest.”

Malcolm Turnbull will hold a gathering in Canberra on Thursday with unions, business and other groups to advise him about Australia's future prosperity.   For Australia to prosper, business has to prosper.  So Mr Turnbull's ideas about how to help business do that are critical.   Here's what he said yesterday:

“Our government is focused on the opportunities arising from technological disruption and in creating an environment for strong, innovative industries to grow,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

In leaving his role as the Government's chief business advisor, Mr Newman says the Turnbull Government should focus on helping business to prosper through:

  • industrial relations reform
  • taxation reform
  • red-tape repeal
  • reducing the size of government

Malcolm Turnbull's focus on technological disruption and innovation wouldn't have been high on the agenda for the practical, show-me-the-money Maurice Newman.   Kevin Rudd, however would have loved it.

Here's Annabel Hepworth's report in .The Australian today.

Maurice Newman a non-renewable resource for Malcolm Turnbull

“Clearly, the new Prime Minister’s views and mine differ in a number of areas,” he said.

Mr Newman, a former chairman of the ABC and the ASX, is an outspoken climate-change sceptic and had criticised the cost of the renewable energy target.

The future of the business ­advisory council is uncertain, as Mr Turnbull is yet to clarify whether he thinks he needs such a group.

Asked what Mr Turnbull would have to do to ensure the confidence of the business community, Mr Newman said he had to continue the red-tape repeal process pushed by Mr Abbott.

“He has to deal with industrial relations reform, he has to deal with taxation reform; they are major issues,” he said.

“He has to deal with the high cost of energy in this country ...

“I think we have to look at smaller government not bigger government.”

Here's a link to the AusGovBoards website showing most of the Council members will be gone in the next month or so - Maurice Newman has had the heave-ho already.


The Business Advisory Council is part of the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, and functions in an advisory capacity.

The Council facilitates an ongoing dialogue between the Government and representatives of Australian business. The Council’s advice will help guide programmes and policies relating to the needs of both small and large businesses in Australia.

Current board appointments

PositionAppointeeGenderStart dateEnd date
Chairperson Vacant      
Other Dr Martin Parkinson PSM Male 16/12/2013  
Other Dr Ian Watt AO Male 16/12/2013  
Member Mr Michael Chaney AO Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr Peter Fox AM Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr Daniel Grollo  Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr John Hart  Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr Barry Irvin AM Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr Graham Kraehe AO Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr Solomon Lew  Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Ms Catherine Livingstone AO Female 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Mr Jacques Nasser  Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015
Member Dr Jane Wilson  Female 04/12/2013 04/12/2015
Member Professor Gary Banks AO Male 28/11/2013 28/11/2015