Professor Ross Garnaut AC RESET Webinar Series


The RESET Webinar Series was presented in six parts.

  1. The Great Crash (Wednesday 20 May, recording now available)
  2. Dog Days. Why going back to 2019 won't work (Wednesday 27 May, recording now available)
  3. Restoring Prosperity (Wednesday 3 June, recording now available)
  4. Equity to Support Productivity-Raising Reform (Wednesday 10 June, recording now available)
  5. Building the Superpower of the Low Carbon World Economy (Wednesday 17 June, recording now available)
  6. Restoring International Cooperation (Wednesday 24 June, recording now available)

Each webinar was moderated by Professor A. Abigail Payne, Director and Ronald Henderson Professor, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the world to enter its deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Despite good management of the spread of the virus internally, Australia is affected more than other developed countries, because of the structure of its economy and its location in a region of vulnerable developing countries. Shocks of this magnitude throw history from its established course. As we struggle to overcome the coronavirus challenge, we can plan for an Australia that has strengths beyond those with which we entered the current trials.

Ross Garnaut’s ‘RESET’ lectures described the pandemic and its economic impact; the challenges that Australia, developed democracies and the international community carried into the pandemic; and laid out alternative paths forward for Australia in the challenging post-pandemic world. The lectures explored the economic policy choices that can allow us to manage down extraordinarily high deficits and debt; and restore productivity growth, full employment and broadly based increases in living standards. Garnaut discussed how commitment to accelerated transition to a zero emissions economy can support the restoration of Australian prosperity. He considered weaknesses in international cooperation that were apparent before the pandemic, have deepened through the health and economic crises and which need to be corrected in restoration of global prosperity.

The RESET Lectures described:

  • the emergence of the pandemic in late 2019 and its spread throughout the world in 2020;
  • the immediate and deep recessionary effects in the countries in which COVID-19 was established and the additional recessionary effects of economic contagion;
  • the immediate economic policy responses in Australia and the world, and their effects in ameliorating some recessionary pressures and not others;
  • the legacy of deep and entrenched recession in Australia and the world as a whole;
  • the policy choices faced by Australia and the international community in finding our way back to broadly based prosperity;
  • the opportunity to correct weaknesses in policy and performance which preceded the pandemic; and
  • the consequences that would follow if we lose our way.


Ross Garnaut AC

Professor Garnaut is a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at The University of Melbourne. He is the author of numerous publications in scholarly journals on international economics, public finance and economic development, particularly in relation to East Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Recent books include The Great Crash of 2008 (with David Llewellyn-Smith, 2009); Dog Days: Australia After the Boom (2013); Forty Years of Reform and Development in China (2018) and Superpower: Australia’s low carbon opportunity, Black Inc., 2019.

He is Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Economic Society, Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resources Economic Society, Fellow of the Australia Academy of Social Sciences and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Garnaut has had longstanding senior roles as policy advisor, diplomat and businessman. He was the senior economic policy official in Papua New Guinea’s Department of Finance in the years straddling Independence in 1975, principal economic adviser to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983-1985, and Australian Ambassador to China 1985-1988.

He is the author of a number of influential reports to the Australian Government, including Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy, 1989, The Review of the Federal State Financial Relations (with Vince Fitzgerald) 2002, The Garnaut Climate Change Review 2008, and The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change.