Ms Adamson said in 2017 the government would continue to push forward on improving access to markets for exports through trade negotiations.
“Recognising the re-emergence of a protectionist mood should be frankly a call to arms,” she said.
“It shouldn’t be a signal to abandon our efforts to drive greater economic openness and more, freer trade.
“Those of us who have seen the ways in which trade and investment reform has led to more income for Australians, more jobs for Australians, more investment coming into Australia to build and grow productive Australian businesses have a responsibility, in 2017, to argue the case.
“The US election and Brexit prove one thing: if we believe in what we’re doing, economists, policymakers and those of us working in government, have a responsibility to bring people with us.
“There is a real discussion to be had about the facts and benefits that accrue from globalisation, particularly as they relate to the everyday citizen.
“It’s time for us to redouble our efforts – in every boardroom across the country, public, private, and NGO, to make the case for sensible reform that will lift productivity and create sustainable employment.”
USA Embassy in Australia Chargé d’ Affaires, Ad Interim, James Carouso spoke on where the US-Australia relationship was headed in 2017.
“The alliance is as strong as ever,” he said.
“The truth is, I feel pretty good about the big picture; about both US-Australian relations and the US role in Asia.”
Speaking on China, Mr Carouso said: “We welcome a peaceful, stable and prosperous China that plays a responsible role in the region and more widely in global affairs; as befits a nation of China’s international stature.
“Like Australia, America will continue to work effectively with China across a broad range of issues, but will speak frankly when we disagree.”
Wesfarmers and GL Energy Non-Executive Director Diane Smith-Gander spoke about the need to engage all citizens in the Australian economy.
“Without inclusive economic engagement we leave ourselves open to the potential to the rampant populism now seen in the United Kingdom and the United States,” she said.
“Isn’t it interesting that those two places are called ‘united’ for in my mind they have never been less united.
“My first policy prescription for engaging all Australians is to continue our open economy stance but to ensure structural shifts don’t disadvantage some workers.
“My next policy prescription is a 25 per cent company tax rate as soon as possible for all businesses to lead to stronger investment, higher wages and more jobs in Australia.
“This is not trickledown economics, stronger investment delivers a direct benefit to workers and government revenues grow as economies expand.”
Ms Smith-Gander also highlighted the importance of policies to encourage more women and older workers into the workforce.
Speaking in particular about women in the workforce, Ms Smith-Gander said there is a business case for gender equality, highlighting modelling completed by McKinsey about the significant potential economic benefits for the Australian economy if disincentives for female workforce participation were removed.
“I’m convinced that increasing female workforce participation is the thin edge of our economic wedge and if we can deliver equality to 51 per cent of the population, then I think we can deliver equality to all,” she said.
“The other big prize is that if we can have this inclusion and ensure opportunities for all then we are going to remove the opportunity for populist nonsense.”
Other speakers at the EPO Brisbane event included Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economics, Michael Blythe and CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon Stephen Martin.