Onya, Twiggy.

We give business leaders a deserved slap when they put their hand in the till. So let’s give credit where it’s due to Andrew Forrest, who, when he puts his hand into his bulging pockets, often hands out cash to a cause more worthy than his personal luxury.

The whopping $65 million donation from the Forrests — perhaps the largest philanthropic offering in Australian history — will be invested in scholarships for PhD and post-graduate students at the University of Western Australia. Twiggy, admirably, wants to build the academic excellence of the West.

As Crikey has long reported, Aussies by and large are a generous lot. But the really rich, Forrest and a few others aside, let us down. Australia’s select group of billionaires — no need to name names, they know who they are — rank poorly in terms of their contribution to philanthropic and charitable causes.

Twiggy told ABC Radio today that he reckons Australia is at the “early stages of a philanthropic culture”. He needs to convince a few of his mega-rich mates first.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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