Last night, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, six past and present leaders of the Queensland business community were induced in to the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. The inductees for 2015 were:
- Lawrence Wackett, the so-called father of the Australian aircraft industry,
- Hyne Timber, an innovative timber company headquartered in Maryborough,
- The Courier-Mail, Brisbane’s daily newspaper,
- Ellen O’Brien (and Defiance Flour), the driving force behind the leading flour company in its early history,
- Benjamin Wickham Macdonald, the so-called Napoleon of Australian shipping, and
- Blue Care, the aged care provider.
The choice of Benjamin Wickham Macdonald (1853-1920) was an interesting one. The economists in the audience were surprised to learn that one of his claims to fame was the establishment of a cartel in Australian coastal shipping which fixed prices and substantially boosted the profitability of the industry. Obviously this type of anti-competitive behaviour would not be allowed today, as it would result in higher shipping costs and ultimately higher prices for consumers. Any assessment of the Napoleon of shipping’s contribution to the Queensland economy should take into account the impacts of the anti-competitive behaviour he engaged in.
Finally, below is a photo of Tim Wonhof, Economic Society of Australia (Qld) President, and I at the dinner. Thanks to Brad Rogers for taking the photo.