The Australian-Davos Connection Future Summit was held in Brisbane on
Thursday and Friday last week and it attracted a lively range of
speakers. However, the biggest controversy of the gab-fest came when
Alexander Downer addressed lunch on Friday, only to cop an abusive
opening question about AWB from a Kevin Rudd staffer who only
introduced himself as a nominee for one of the “future leader” awards.

Downer and the Rudd staffer then got into an unseemly shouting match which did no-one any credit.

Axa Asia Pacific CEO Les Owen was on one of the China panels and made
some quite startling observations about increasing pollution problems
in Hong Kong blowing over from Guangdong.

Owen said Axa had noticed a spike in death rates over the past two
winters and most of them were caused by respiratory complications. He
also said it was becoming more difficult to attract good expat staff to
Hong Kong and he might even move the regional headquarters elsewhere,
although it won’t be coming back to Australia.

Peter Fray

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