A History of Foreign Multinationals in Australia

Simon Ville

Co-investigators:

  • Professor David Merrett, University of Melbourne
  • Associate-Professor Andre Sammartino, University of Melbourne
  • Associate-Professor Pierre van der Eng, Australian National University and Peking University.
  • Professor Geoff Jones, Harvard Business School

We aim to write the first history of foreign multinational firms in twentieth-century Australia, connecting to, and enhancing, a rich overseas literature on global business.

Foreign corporations have played a critical but poorly understood role here with public and policy opinions polarised between approval for new investment, job creation and innovation against concern for their impact on tax revenue, competition, and economic policy. Through a closer, long term understanding of multinationals – their magnitude, motives to settle here, corporate structures, and adaptation to local conditions – our findings will facilitate better informed public discourses of their economic and business impact, which will assist future policy decisions.