Held on Hayman Island, from 23-25 August 2013, the Australian Leadership Retreat is the country’s premier gathering for business, political, academic and community leaders. It is a forum that promotes the fearless exchange of ideas concerning Australia among an exemplary cast representing myriad strands of domestic and international leadership. The Retreat has built its formidable reputation on substance over celebrity, and its durable appeal is only partly owed to the high-powered roll call of speakers and attendees.

It is brand new thinking in the face of growing complexity that attracts such broad and enthusiastic support for what is widely acknowledged as the pinnacle of thought leadership in Australia.

An invitation-only event, the Retreat sets rather than follows the agenda through open, robust, and confidential debate, with a deliberate focus on the long term.

Theme for 2013: Opportunity from Disruption

Change and disruption are an inescapable reality in many sectors, occurring at an unprecedented pace and scale. The challenge for businesses, governments and societies more broadly, is to leverage disruption; rethinking interrelationships and ways of doing things to realise unforeseen opportunities. Failure to do is a certain path to becoming a casualty. We must understand the forces and dynamics underlying disruption and the winners will be those who identify and understand disruptive patterns in their early stages and grasp their enormous potential.

The Retreat will explore this theme from multiple perspectives, from the high level of economy, politics and society, to the functioning of the individual and businesses, looking through both a global and a local lens. The focus will be on generating in-depth insights which will provide a competitive edge, based on new possibilities and visionary ideas.

The program is designed to present business leaders with broader insights to inform their strategies through a series of exclusive and confidential briefings and discussions led by a distinguished group of Australian and international speakers.

Themes included:

  • International opportunities and engagement – current regional issues and dynamics, growing markets for Australian business, broader geopolitical forces, risks and prospects;
  • Industry intelligence – global and Australian trends and outlooks – industry roundtables;
  • Rethinking the Economy – enhancing productivity, economic complexity and competitiveness, stimulus vs austerity, finance and investment, human capital;
  • Resilience and conditions for performance –energy security and alternatives, food and agriculture, health and education, the environment, infrastructure and cities, the psychology of cultural change;
  • Technology Futures – disruptive technologies, big data and innovation.

The program included keynote addresses, expert panels, a series of parallel workshops, thematic working lunches and a range of informal discussion formats.