“The minister sends his regrets….”
Yesterday I commented how the Australian Tech Leaders event would be a good measure of the state of the country’s technology industry. Instead it illustrated the sheer contempt the nation’s political leaders hold the industry.
One of the government’s key platforms in the upcoming election is its Innovation Statement and the accompanying Ideas Boom so it wouldn’t have been expected that a minister or at least an informed backbencher would address a room full of technology journalists.
Instead the government drafted one of their local MPs, Fiona Scott, to make the short drive up the hill from her electorate to haltingly deliver a poorly written speech that focused on her local electorate issues.
To be fair to Ms Scott, the outer Sydney suburban seat she represents is a bellweather electorate which tends to swing between parties as government changes. It also happens to have a workforce that’s beginning to feel the effects of a shifting economy. Her focus on local issues is understandable.
However as a member of a government aspiring to drive a technology driven jobs boom and the representative of an electorate whose workforce is in transition, it is remarkable that Ms Scott is so poorly briefed on tech issues.
What’s even more remarkable is the contempt shown by the government towards the country’s technology sector, a long standing problem in Australian society but particularly stark with the current administration given the Prime Minister’s fine words on the topic.
One of the saddest things about Australia’s squandered boom is how the nation turned inwards at the beginning of the Twenty-First century and decided to ignore the global technological shifts.
The contempt shown by the current government towards the technology sector shows a much deeper problem in the Australian mindset, if the country is to rely on more than its luck in the current century then it’s essential to shake off that way of thinking.