"Japanese companies with business operations in Australia have been left wondering at the future of policy in Australia as a result of an inconclusive election result," said former Howard Government minister and Japan-based Counsel to Lander & Rogers, the Hon. Andrew Thomson.
Thomson was speaking at a recent post-election briefing for Japanese corporations, which our firm held in partnership with the Melbourne Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). He was joined by a panel comprising:
- Geoff Walsh AO (ALP);
- Dr Andrew Scott (Member of House of Representatives 1996-2016, Liberal, SA); and
- Hon. Michael Ronaldson (Former Member of House of Representatives and Senator 1990-2016, Liberal, Vic).
Head of Lander & Rogers' Japan Client Group, Deanna Constable, said, "Japanese companies have long supported and invested in the development of Australian industry and continue today to be a major source of foreign direct investment. However, sovereign risk is always a major factor for any investor, and Australia's political landscape since 2010 has been far from stable."
According to Thomson, "Many Japanese companies still have a substantial appetite for investment in Australia, but the reverberations of the election result in Tokyo boardrooms mean that major investment decisions will require more certainty regarding Australian policy on tax and the budget situation.
"Whether the next few months of parliamentary debate brings a welcome clarity to Australia's investment landscape, is the key question," he added.
Speaking about the event, Geoff Walsh and Michael Ronaldson said that they appreciated the interest by Japanese corporations in Australia's political process and election outcomes.
Ronaldson said, "There are enormous opportunities for existing and new Japanese companies to significantly enhance their investment in Australia." Walsh added that, "It was great to be able to speak about issues of key importance to Japanese companies which are doing business in Australia."
Constable agreed, commenting that, "Any hope that the double dissolution election would deliver a clear mandate for the Government has now faded, and all foreign investors are now trying to grapple with how power will be divided and wielded in the newly constituted Parliament. This seminar was an important and timely discussion on that very topic.
"This is the second event that we have run with the JCCI, following last year's very successful Australian Politics Seminar. Our partnership with the JCCI in both Sydney and Melbourne is a key feature of our firm's Japan Client Group strategy."