Ben Burgess, University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics
With the official OECD forum officially over, day three provided the delegation with the chance to reflect on the policies issues discussed over the past few days and the opportunity to meet with some senior members of the OECD.
In the morning our first meeting was with Mr David Bradbury, Head of the Tax Policy and Statistic division for the OECD. We discussed the changing role of tax reform in an increasingly globalised and digitised world. Given the decentralisation of markets and the emergence of crypto currency, it was fascinating to discuss how tax reform needs to change to accommodate for the future.
We were fortunate to meet someone who had previously worked within the Australian government as Assistant Treasury, now working at a global organisation within Europe. It was great to meet an Australian who has been shaping policy in different forms.
After this, we were lucky enough to meet another Australian politician, Mr Brian Pontifex, Australian Ambassador and permanent representative to the OECD. Like Mr Bradbury, Mr Pontifex had previously worked within Australian politics, as Chief of Staff to the Hon. Colin Barnett and it was intriguing to discuss how his roles have changed over his career. Mr. Pontifex had just arrived from a long day of ministerial meetings and provided us with an insight into the intricacies of how decisions at the OECD are made. The ministerial meetings that Mr Pontifex discussed were a significant part of the OECD week for policymakers and it was great to be able to discuss how topics being debated at the forum were also being implemented in policy meetings.
Our final meeting for the day was with Mr Andrew Wyckoff, Director for Science, Technology and Innovation. Mr Andrew’s department, specialising in technology and innovation, played an important role in this year’s OECD forum as issues such as the impact of technology on the workforce, Artificial Intelligence and the opportunities and threats of globalisation were debated.
As well discussing these issues in length, Mr Wyckoff asked for our input into ways in which the OECD can communicate its work and deliver key messages to the younger population. As many of our research topics touched on areas of technology and innovation, we were fortunate to be able to debate our findings with Mr Wyckoff and discuss potential solutions to these pressing problems.
Thursday was a fantastic day. The diverse range of topics discussed and rich insights gained from such different and experienced individuals inspired and energised the delegation.
Later that evening, the team ventured to Sacré-Cœur Basilica together, enjoying the splendid views of Paris offered from the site. The team also shared its last team dinner, which included the consumption of frog’s legs!
When in Paris...