Apple
Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash

Probably the only group to be reveling in 2020 are the good folk at Apple, which this week became the first publicly listed US company with a US$2 trillion (A$2.7 trillion) sharemarket value, an increase of 57% in value in the year so far.

Which got us thinking — what does that kind of scratch buy you these days?

So, as you can see, you have to get pretty grand to even make a dent. So what about… Australia? $2.7 trillion greatly exceeds our GDP ($1.89 trillion); you could throw in New Zealand and most of Micronesia and still have change.

But of course, as University of Sydney constitutional law profession Anne Twomey told Crikey, Australia, the polity, is not something that anyone “owns”, exactly. Still, you could sell the physical land.

“Even then, this is complex, because under our land system, when people buy freehold title to land, it is only a series of rights in relation to the land,” she said. “The underlying title — sometimes described as the ‘radical title’, see the Mabo case — since the British claimed Australia, is held by the ‘Crown’.”

From there, it just gets more complex.

“Then there is the question of what is actually meant by the term ‘Crown’ – is it the executive government, or the entire polity itself?” she said, adding this doesn’t take into account the question of ongoing native title rights and questions of Aboriginal sovereignty.

“So if Apple wanted to buy Australia, the answer is that Apple would really end up buying a lot of complex legal advice, and enriching many lawyers with holiday homes and Lamborghinis.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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