“I’m very confident we can solve this,” Mr Morrison said, sharpening his re-election pitch to voters ahead of next year’s poll. “I have much more confidence based on the track record of world history that this will be solved by the entrepreneurs and the scientists and the industrialists and the risk-takers and the investors, and supported by smart regulation.” – From Rob Harris in the Sydney Morning Herald November 13, 2021
Let’s dissect this proclamation.
At least in the first statement the PM is acknowledging it won’t be him fixing the problem, what ever ‘this’ is.
Isn’t “the track record of history” a tautology?
Anyways, I am curious from what date Mr Morrison envisages this history of “entrepreneurs and the scientists and the industrialists and the risk-takers and the investors” started. Maybe the Renaissance? Or perhaps the Scientific Revolution? The spirit of the British and Dutch East India Companies comes to mind. Not to mention those brave industrialists who dug up coal to fuel their empires of train networks and steel mills.
I do not dispute that science leads to great and disruptive innovation. After all, where would Australia be if it weren’t for the need to observe the Transit of Venus.
But let’s not forget that purposeful science to overcome big problems has historically been underwritten by government before the venture capitalists became involved. Think the Manhattan Project and the Moon Landing – both in excess of 20 Billion US in contemporary currency. The Human Genome Project in excess of 3 Billion Dollars. Military applications led to many innovations like the internet – think DARPA. Closer to home CSIRO brought us wifi. Much biomedical research starts in government funded university labs before biotechs and pharmaceutical companies pick up the patents.
Promises of 500M to 1 Billion AUD don’t add-up to much when you compare the ‘moonshot’ projects. Even when you use other comparisons like the percentage of Australian GDP, the cost of running a larger Australian Hospital each year (about 400-500M) or the size of the Australian poultry industry (about 850M) the sums Australia are committing are tiny.
Finally, what is “smart regulation”? Mr Morrison has already said that Australians are sick of mandates – especially those coming from Labor. Smart almost certainly doesn’t mean evidence-based. That would mean following the science…..oh I forgot, the scientists are going to save us. I suspect smart regulation are regulations that don’t increase taxes and ergo reduce votes.
Weasel Words – they’re the Australian Way.