Former American ambassador Joe Hockey certainly didn’t mince words in a podcast released on Friday with his old pal from Sydney days, Future Generation Investment Group boss Louise Walsh.
In addition to his well publicised backhander to China’s “bully” Xi Jinping, Hockey also let fly at Australia’s band of rich listers for their lack of philanthropic giving.
Asked by Walsh about the giving culture in America in comparison to what we see here, Big Joe replied: “I think people should be more overt with their generosity and I get so frustrated when I meet high net worth individuals in Australia that are tight, are not generous, that need to be asked to be generous. And then when they give money, which is not a significant amount of money, they think they’re being generous, and it’s all wrong. I mean you can’t take any of your money with you.” Indeed.
But Joe then singled out billionaires Andrew and Nicola Forrest for praise as people who “really wear it and they give and they never say no. And there are many people like that in Australia. There are incredibly generous people.
“I love in America that there’s competition for the generosity and the first point of call for someone who is philanthropic is not to try and get the government to match them dollar for dollar. It is, I want to be generous, I don’t mind if you put my name on a building or recognise it, maybe that’ll encourage others to be generous as well, and that’s really impressive,’’ he added.