Since my
list titled Historic Look at
Australia’s Top 20 Business People (including one American!)
published in the Crikey
(June 27) and on the Crikey
, I have received numerous enquiries as to why some people were
included in my list and not others.

Firstly, I
should point out that while the recent boom in Australian business is top of mind, innovation
and wealth has only recently surpassed the growth and achievements seen in
three previous booms:

  • From
    the 1850s up until the 1890 depression;

  • From
    1900 until the 1930 depression (excluding WWI); and

  • The
    1950s and 60s (post WWII), specifically the wool/agriculture boom, as well as large
    mineral discoveries of iron ore, nickel, coal and oil.

Each of
these periods had their own success stories – my point is that there are far
more than 20 business people responsible for Australia’s success. It was for
this reason I chose not to include many of today’s business leaders who have
been extremely successful: highly paid executives such as Roger Corbett of
Woolworths or Allan Moss of the Macquarie Bank.

Nor did I include
individuals who have in recent years created substantial wealth by building
successful businesses. These include people such as Peter Scanlon and Chris
Corrigan, Paul Little, Lindsay Fox, Dick Pratt, John Singleton, Kerry Stokes and
Solomon Lew – to name just a few.

In addition
to these successful businesspeople there are many others – all of whom are
well documented in the BRW Rich List and today’s edition of The
. However
there are others who could have just as easily been included in my list, such
as the following mentioned to me over
the last few days: Essington
Lewis, Alfred
Nicholas, Sidney
Kidman, Michael

There are
also many others who have been involved in other activities such as the arts,
science, education, medicine, architecture, politics (there are a few like John
Button and Henry Bolte) and, yes, the law (Michael Kirby).

Peter Fray

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