Last, night International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde spoke on a range of issues – economic, political, ideological – as part of a special edition of the ABC’s Q&A. The broadcast, billed as An Audience With Christine Lagarde, took place at the University of Sydney.

To attend talks held as part of Australia’s 2014 presidency of the G20, Lagarde will visit Australia three times throughout the year. As the first female to serve as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Lagarde is arguably both the most influential woman in the world today, and the most influential figure in world finance.

lagarde-posedDuring the Q&A program, according to attending journalist Georgia Dent, questions focused on “everything from sustainable development, economic growth, the Greek bailout, inequality, tax evasion, fiscal policies in China and the United States, the ‘age of entitlement’ in Australia, female workforce participation and environmental degradation”. On multiple occasions, Lagarde highlighted the importance of investing in health and education in order to foster sustainable economic growth – both in Australia and internationally. This recommendation was contrary to Australian Finance Minister Joe Hockey’s calls for an end to the “age of entitlement.”

Lagarde spoke with dignity and poise, refusing to be drawn into opportunities to attack individuals or groups directly. Instead, the successful lawyer looked constructively at some of the negative financial and legislative factors impacting the world economy. She also discussed climate change, and the need to encourage gender equality and reduce economic inequality – topics which were also broached in Lagarde’s recent Good Weekend cover story.

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