The Wallet: rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated

Gold star, everyone. Now let’s get on with it.


It has been a few weeks since our last missive – mostly because I’ve struggled to know what to say. What do you say when the rug’s been pulled from under your feet, and everyone’s trying to figure out whose jaw they’re picking up off the floor?

We’re extremely fortunate that our business still has business. We know too many excellent, excellent people who are out in the cold at the moment, across a spectrum of sectors and skill sets. The talent pool is going to be extraordinary when companies start hiring again.

On top of that, it’s a sure bet we’re going to find a lot of really interesting start-ups will have sprung up from the weeds of COVID-19. I have no doubt they’ll be more creative and interesting than the flurry of “we’ll help you get through COVID!” cash-grab ventures that have been launched with a quickness these past through weeks, targeting businesses that, if they had money to spend on that sort of thing, would already be spending it elsewhere.

Striving to look beyond the house of cards

The main reason I’ve not put metaphorical pen to paper since we all started to lock down was a desire not to add to commentary on the carnage. There’s quite enough of that out there, from the sober-straight to the gleeful-clickbait.

I’ve been delighted at the whispers over the past couple of days of how we, as a nation, will re-emerge from the unprecedented social restrictions instituted to combat COVID. We’re clearly still a fair way off from any such recovery measures being introduced, but it’s encouraging to the point where, for the first time in the best part of a month, it feels like we have permission to un-gird our loins a wee bit.

In the meantime, I am kind of loving this working-from-home schtick. As someone who spent around three hours a day commuting before this all happened, I’m discovering just how beneficial getting up with the sun can be. And while I’ll complain heartily in jest about being locked in with a house full of teenagers, the truth is I’m having much more fun during my working week by being around them.

(Part of that comes from watching the daily treasure hunts my eldest son embarks on to find where I’ve hidden the Xbox controllers. He may be all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips on the seven-string electric guitar, but no way is he going to discover all my hiding places.)

The hint of recovery

This week, Scott Morrison declared that “high-value, low-risk” industries including agriculture, construction, infrastructure and manufacturing were the priorities for lifting restrictions to get our economy fired up again. Yes, this was in the same breath as warnings that we’re by no means out of the woods yet – but that’s okay. At this point, it really is the thought that counts.

Gold star to all of us who have been sticking to physical distancing restrictions and assisting coronavirus containment efforts. Hearing that Australia and South Korea are becoming the G20 poster children for the success of our COVID-19 response measures warms the cockles – and demonstrates that as it was following our relatively limited exposure to the full impact of the GFC, we should think about buying more shares in Teflon.

I’m hoping that over the next week or two, we go from seeing doom and destruction in every headline and murky corner, to a realisation that rumours of our demise really have been greatly exaggerated.

Until then, let’s crack on.