Turnbull backwards on innovation

Malcolm Turnbull has a vision for the Australian economy:

The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves.

We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.

Excellent. As Adam Smith suggested “peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice” will suffice. But it seems the new PM has a somewhat different game plan:

We have to be – and we will be – a country that invests in science and puts it right at the centre of our national agenda.

We have to recognise the central role of science and the work of scientists and people that follow the scientific method.

Hopefully he will have read this weekend essay by Matt Ridley:

Politicians believe that innovation can be turned on and off like a tap: You start with pure scientific insights, which then get translated into applied science, which in turn become useful technology. So what you must do, as a patriotic legislator, is to ensure that there is a ready supply of money to scientists on the top floor of their ivory towers, and lo and behold, technology will come clanking out of the pipe at the bottom of the tower.

To be fair to Malcolm Turnbull many people have subscribed to the so-called linear model for a long, long time.

This linear model of how science drives innovation and prosperity goes right back to Francis Bacon, the early 17th-century philosopher and statesman who urged England to catch up with the Portuguese in their use of science to drive discovery and commercial gain. Supposedly Prince Henry the Navigator in the 15th century had invested heavily in mapmaking, nautical skills and navigation, which resulted in the exploration of Africa and great gains from trade. That is what Bacon wanted to copy.

Yet recent scholarship has exposed this tale as a myth, or rather a piece of Prince Henry’s propaganda. Like most innovation, Portugal’s navigational advances came about by trial and error among sailors, not by speculation among astronomers and cartographers. If anything, the scientists were driven by the needs of the explorers rather than the other way around.

It follows that there is less need for government to fund science: Industry will do this itself. Having made innovations, it will then pay for research into the principles behind them. Having invented the steam engine, it will pay for thermodynamics. This conclusion of Mr. Kealey’s is so heretical as to be incomprehensible to most economists, to say nothing of scientists themselves.

For more than a half century, it has been an article of faith that science would not get funded if government did not do it, and economic growth would not happen if science did not get funded by the taxpayer. It was the economist Robert Solow who demonstrated in 1957 that innovation in technology was the source of most economic growth—at least in societies that were not expanding their territory or growing their populations. It was his colleagues Richard Nelson and Kenneth Arrow who explained in 1959 and 1962, respectively, that government funding of science was necessary, because it is cheaper to copy others than to do original research.

“The problem with the papers of Nelson and Arrow,” writes Mr. Kealey, “was that they were theoretical, and one or two troublesome souls, on peering out of their economists’ aeries, noted that in the real world, there did seem to be some privately funded research happening.” He argues that there is still no empirical demonstration of the need for public funding of research and that the historical record suggests the opposite.

If prime minister Turnbull wants a disruptive economy he is going to have to first disrupt Canberra by cutting regulation and cutting taxation. To be sure strengthening Canberra will disrupt the economy too, but not in the value-adding way that he is envisaging.

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86 Responses to Turnbull backwards on innovation

  1. Infidel Tiger says:

    Maybe someone could create an app for leadership spills?

    It will require a great deal of funding.

  2. JC says:

    This was the same sort of crap Earwax eater and the Lying Slapper were peddling. Has he had a brain spasm?

  3. Gab says:

    This is the sort of rubbish the Left always bang on about so it comes as no surprise from turnbull.

  4. Alfonso says:

    Lord Waffle wants to pick, anoint and subsidise winners, to their everlasting gratitude. What use is power without grace and favour? A car manufacturing industry for Australia is a creative innovation whose time has come.

  5. Ant says:

    “We have to recognise the central role of science and the work of scientists and people that follow the scientific method.”

    Malcom Turnbull on Climate Change.

    Pardon me while I puke

  6. john constantine says:

    Going for growth by funding the discovery of cold fusion,time travel and perpetual motion seems marginally preferrable to going for growth by importing self replicating client herds to provide the demand for their welfare industry to service.

  7. fhb5 says:

    The trouble is MT is likely push for both.

  8. Louis Hissink says:

    It’s important to replace the word “scientist” with technician or technocrat, because innovation is really different ways of applying known scientifically validated phenomena. Very few of the so-called scientists actually use the scientific method and the most experienced practitioners of the scientific method are mineral exploration geologists looking for new mineral deposits.

    It also important to understand that scientific innovation does not occur in the established scientific milieu but at its boundaries by dissonant individuals not toeing the peer-reviewed orthodoxies; Peer-review actually stifles innovation.

    What we call science today is better described as a technically sophisticated religion. It’s the sinners who thus make the new discoveries and not the faithful who have to observe the protocols of their authorities.

    And of course only the mediocre end up in government employ, not cutting the mustard in the market. I started off working for guvmint and very quickly went into the private sector.

    But innovation from the government science monolith? No way Jose.

  9. Chris says:

    Louis Hissink, that is very well said.

  10. candy says:

    What are these new industries science produces exactly and what jobs go with it?

  11. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    So why, if he is so keen on science, did he cancel funding to Lomborg’s centre then?

    More “words with no sincerity”?

  12. Sparkx says:

    “The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves.”

    Australia has always been agile, innovative and creative. WTF is this man smoking?

    Rooms full of typists have been replaced with computers. We managed.
    Factory floors full of sewing machines have vanished off shore. We manage.
    Now factories full of car builders are about to vanish. We will manage.
    I no longer ask the person behind the counter for what I wish to purchase, I click on a computer link. Works well for me.
    Australians invented the Hills hoist, the motor mower, Gardasil and much, much more.
    Australians have always been at the front when it comes to embracing consumer electronics.

    There is so much to to proud of. All we need is to be left alone on get on with what we do best – without government meddling and regulation.

  13. Habib says:

    His only economic vision is to borrow shitloads more money that he’ll never have to repay, and blow it on shit. An unused, expensive piece of idiocy in every metropolitan centre. Only difference between him and Rudd is he doesn’t look as much like an old lesbian. And so far he’s refrained from consuming his own secretions, at least in public.

  14. Louis Hissink says:

    Confessions of a public servant in the US

    Read this article and you will see why there cannot be innovation in the public sector,

    Thanks Chris 🙂

  15. Baldrick says:

    We have to recognise the central role of science and the work of scientists and people that follow the scientific method.

    Turnbull you knob, just like the scientific method for CAGW – ‘the science is settled’.

  16. Old School Conservative says:

    Trial and error amongst business people won’t succeed. A new CEO only has a short time to lift dividends and share price, so there is no room for the error aspect of innovation. Self funded entrepreneurs may be able to delay the day of reckoning but there aren’t too many of them.
    There is precious little “get up and go” amongst our current crop of school leavers and university graduates. A resurgent economy built on wealth creation, entrepreneurial drive and private innovation is just a dream.

  17. Tom says:

    This is like reading Pravda in the 1970s for signs of disunity in the ruling junta. Am I correct in seeing a shift in position and a hint of criticism by one of Dear Leader’s shock troops, a professor of economics who has until now been a key propagandist and has ignored the junta’s reckless tax-and-spend posture, which said professor claims to loathe? LMFAO!

  18. Just interested says:

    Lord Turnbull has always banged on about this point – those who support his ascension to leadership can’t claim this is surprising.

  19. Snoopy says:

    This is like reading Pravda in the 1970s for signs of disunity in the ruling junta. Am I correct in seeing a shift in position and a hint of criticism by one of Dear Leader’s shock troops, a professor of economics who has until now been a key propagandist and has ignored the junta’s reckless tax-and-spend posture, which said professor claims to loathe? LMFAO!

    Be careful Tom. Observations like that are likely to offend.

  20. Chris says:

    Sinc, thanks for this article. Quite helpful in seeing which way we are heading. Sadly, it reinforces the cynical view.

    In the famous science-fiction world governed by elected lizards, you have to vote – otherwise the wrong lizard might get in!

  21. notafan says:

    For more than a half century, it has been an article of faith that science would not get funded if government did not do it, and economic growth would not happen if science did not get funded by the taxpayer.

    The same goes for the other scientific research, medical research. I’m more than happy to leave that to business as well.

    You know we taxpayers can invest directly in science and technology, if we want to. We don’t want Malcolm to pick winners by pick pocketing our taxes and our super.

    We know darn well a lot of this will be wasted on more crap like hot rocks, solar batteries powered by rhubarb and other alternative energy brain funks. ANU isn’t churning out those Masters in Climate Change for nothing. Or we could invest in research at UNSW, they did fantastic work in the Antarctic a couple of years back, didn’t they?

    Not to mention the army of green left hipster public servants with the same degrees from climate change university swanning around the world and finding that all the great sciencsy stuff just happens to be happening in places like Barcelona and Costa Rica.

  22. David Brewer says:

    The real stupidity is to imagine that funding of basic science by the Australian government will benefit Australian firms.

    Even if the chain theory were correct – basic science-applications-technology-products – the eventual share of global research benefits to Australian firms would be infinitesimal.

    And we all know what government science funding really produces – it produces government science. You don’t get Hills hoists or ballpoint pens, you get elaborately fiddled temperature aggregates, 100 ways the Barrier Reef will be dead in a generation, and a new theory of the universe based on analysis of dugong poop.

  23. Pusnip says:

    I’m no great fan of publicly-funded science, but the point that there I’d some privately-funded science does not negate the case for public supplementation to address under provision sure to free rider issues, not the need for public provision to inform government in areas where private markets do not operate. Of course, it is another question as to how much Australia needs to be in this space, given our opportunities to free-ride of other nations’research efforts.

  24. Pusnip says:

    Moreover, Pr Chubb’s reports last year which amount to special pleading for more STEM money, basically because other nations spend more than Australia, wouldn’t pass as Eco 101 course. Scientists should stick to their knitting.

  25. Kingsley says:

    Big pharma and biotech firms individual R&D budgets would dwarf almost every nations CSIRO equivalent budget. In the IT sector I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft, Google or Apple in isolation spend vastly more than CSIRO type outfits. Add in the venture capital funds in IT . Sort of renders the CSIROs of the world largely irrelevant.

  26. Art Vandelay says:

    Having worked in the Innovation Department, I can confirm that funding ‘science and innovation’ was a waste of taxpayers’ money. Great innovators and entrepreneurs don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with government and fill out lengthy forms for grants.

    Instead, you attract the usual parasitic class who always gather when ‘free’ money is available. In this case, there are ex-public servants who act as consultants (ie, they market themselves as being able to fill out grant applications to ensure success) and the ‘innovative’ companies which appear to do very little apart from hoover up taxpayers’ funds.

    To ensure that the grants process was at arm’s length from the government, an independent board approved the grants. The board members all seemed to run a number of companies which all relied heavily on government grants. Naturally, they didn’t vote on whether to approve a grant when there’s a conflict of interest. Rather, they absented themselves from the room with a wink and nod to the other board members, knowing that the favour would be returned later.

  27. Andrew says:

    So why, if he is so keen on science, did he cancel funding to Lomborg’s centre then?

    More “words with no sincerity”?

    Lomborg is a public policy economist – trained in political science. His institute may engage with Da Scientists but that’s not his background. Lomborg was never there to fix busted science.

  28. Andrew says:

    This isn’t about growth, it’s about rewarding someone for something. Just like the RGR govt. Who and for what? Will it really just be tipped into the penguin-counting of the Ship of Fools? Will he flush the lot on climate “science” which by definition does not result in a commercial product or innovation but is an end in itself?

  29. Viva says:

    We have to be – and we will be – a country that invests in science

    That doesn’t necessarily translate as the government picking winners.

    I take it to mean that companies should invest more in science through R and D and sponsorships, schools should give more priority to teaching science, research grants should focus more on science and technology rather than weirdo topics – in short, a research and development culture should be encouraged in all sectors.
    It means the long-time dearth of risk capital invested in technology start ups needs to be addressed.

    Why not wait until Turnbull puts more flesh on the bones. I remember him saying that government should get out of the way of business – why assume he has changed his mind about that?

    And please – the light bulb meme is getting a bit tired.

  30. ella says:

    The South African Navy’s Valour-class frigates are an excellent example of industry driving innovation. The frigates, driven by propeller/ jet water propulsion – shallow water/ crash stop capacity – courtesy of (among other unrelated innovations on the ships) New Zealand inventor William Hamilton of Hamilton jet boats, if I recall correctly.

  31. David says:

    a new theory of the universe based on analysis of dugong poop.

    The Sarah Hyphen Sea Patrol Theorem?

  32. 2dogs says:

    Innovation is only slightly xenophobic; it is much less xenophobic than capital. Someone with a new idea will shop for a country to implement it in; it is that country which will reap the rewards.

    If one is seeking to drive innovation, there is a balance to be had between sponsoring science and technology, which means ideas are created here, and deregulation, which causes ideas to be developed here. If it were the case that Australians weren’t having ideas, then it might make sense to sponsor science and technology.

    But our problem is that our best ideas go overseas, because that’s where the regulatory environment is most suitable to idea development.

  33. notafan says:

    But our problem is that our best ideas go overseas, because that’s where the regulatory environment is most suitable to idea development.

    Imagine if that ideas lead to new products that needed to be ‘manufactured’ .

    I’m more inclined to think that Big Ideas Malcolm is one step behind anyhow. We aren’t allowed to mine, we aren’t allowed to manufacture (priced out by red tape, high cost of energy and wages) and he wants the new big Thing as if the rest of the world is asleep on technological innovation. Australia will be the new Israel or something.
    Tourism as the saviour is done so lets try Technology as he waves around his phone with a new app, like wow, this is so awesome dude!
    My SIL to be creates apps for a hobby and I bet there are thousands of school kids who do the same. Its as dumb as Shorten’s every school kid should learn coding.

    I hate government talking about growing the economy. Just get out of the way like you did for the first 1900 odd years of Western civilization.

  34. gabrianga says:

    Must check Goldman’s “tips” for investment in science (other than their dastardly warnings about Global Warming”)

  35. Turnbull’s statement “We have to be – and we will be – a country that invests in science and puts it right at the centre of our national agenda.” does not necessarily indicate he is referring to government investment. He may have been, in which case I would strongly disagree, but it’s possible he was referring to government policies that promote private sector investment.

    However, he is also reported yesterday as saying that a budget surplus should be put into a sovereign wealth fund rather than “spent” on tax cuts, and used during economic downturns. This is Keynesian claptrap for which there is no other possible interpretation.

    My conclusion is, he at least believes in a surplus (something Abbott had largely given up on) but is far from a believer in Austrian economics. Since a surplus is quite some way off, it might be argued there is time to set him straight. Perhaps Sinc and others with communication skills might seek to do that.

    PS Dear Crikey snoop – fuck off. Just fuck off. You’re not witty or insightful, and misrepresenting me doesn’t make you so.

  36. Lem says:

    We have to be – and we will be – a country that invests in science and puts it right at the centre of our national agenda.

    Government almost never “invests”. It steals through taxation. Turnbull should cut taxation, and allow private investment to follow.

  37. gabrianga says:

    The squeak of the old “Traitors Gate” at Castle Wentworth resounded across the Harbour as old mates Michael Parkinson and Gonski entered to pay tribute to Lord and Lady Wentworth .

    No doubt Samantha,Hartcher and other favourites from the Press Gallery used the servant’s entrance?

  38. notafan says:

    Alan Finkel thinks direct investment by government is the go

    To address this problem, the US government directly invests nearly ten times more than we do as a percentage of GDP to fund business feasibility studies intended to convert research outcomes into proven technologies.

    To drive our innovation agenda harder, a 21st-century government could consider grants and development contracts specifically to support the translation of research outcomes into proven technologies.


    The role of science and innovation in a 21st century government, from The Conversation

  39. Viva says:

    The squeak of the old “Traitors Gate” at Castle Wentworth resounded across the Harbour as old mates Michael Parkinson and Gonski entered to pay tribute to Lord and Lady Wentworth .

    No doubt Samantha,Hartcher and other favourites from the Press Gallery used the servant’s entrance?

    LOL

  40. notafan says:

    Now Christopher Pyne will be appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Christopher is going to be at the centre, as is the whole Government, of one of our most important agendas. If we want to remain a prosperous, first world economy with a generous social welfare safety net, we must be more competitive, we must be more productive. Above all we must be more innovative. We have to work more agilely, more innovatively, we have to be more nimble in the way we seize the enormous opportunities that are presented to us. We’re not seeking to proof ourselves against the future. We are seeking to embrace it. And this is a Government and a Ministry that has that as its focus. Christopher’s department, the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science will drive the Government’s focus on investing in science; promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic education; supporting start-ups and bringing together innovation initiatives right across Government. He will continue as Leader of the Government in the House.

    And this announcement sounds like Malcolm intents to invest taxpayers’ money on their behalf.

  41. Lem says:

    And this announcement sounds like Malcolm intents to invest taxpayers’ money on their behalf.

    It is right to be suspicious of politicians announcing these strategies, but it is not necessarily the case that taxpayers via the government be the investors. There exist for instance companies registered by the Australian Federal Government under a special program to encourage investment into Australian SME’s. The Companies’ special registration as a Pooled Development Fund provides most shareholders with tax-free capital gains when they sell their shares and tax-free dividends.

    I don’t profess expertise in this field, but it sounds like a way to encourage scientists to put their projects to market by attracting private capital via the encouragement of relief from taxation for having risked their own capital. A good start for encouraging entrepreneurial activity, I would think.

  42. H B Bear says:

    Anyone talking about government “investment” in science, health or education should be strung up from the nearest lamppost.

    How’s that co-investment in Holden going?

  43. Andrew says:

    Putting someone from the Left of the South Australian Liberal Party in charge of an Industry, Science and innovation portfolio is just asking for billions of dollars to be wasted. So much for being a government run by ‘economic liberals’ under Turnbull.

  44. Andrew says:

    My conclusion is, he at least believes in a surplus (something Abbott had largely given up on)

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaha

    Since his administration to date has consisted of
    – pandering to the cross benches, including the frightbat Lambie, by cancelling anything that would represent “a fight” with them (i.e. all savings measures previously announced and blocked)
    – handouts to Qld light rail, with “billions” more of “investment” to come
    – announcing huge blowout in the NBN
    – appointed Pyne666 with a blank cheque for “innovation”
    – increasing the public sector wage increase from 1.5% to 2% (retrospectively)

    if we are to get closer to this mythical surplus he convinced at least one Australian he believes in, that must come from massively higher taxes. We’re $60bn p.a. in the hole, including a full NBN ramp-up and abandoned savings measures.

  45. Oh come on says:

    So you’re telling me that all those Turnbullian buzzwords promising agility, innovation, disruptive technologies etc etc was just a bunch of hot air of the kind we’ve heard about from politicians time and again were exactly that? And that our repeated warnings about Turnbull are word for word coming true?

    Shocked. Shocked, I tells ya.

  46. Yohan says:

    It has been obvious since he became PM, Turnbull is not a laissez-faire advocate of free markets. He is a technocratic central planner.

    Many intellectuals hold this view, that they are the smartest guys in the room, and can engineer growth and higher living standards by seeding new industries with government money.

    If Turnbull backs this up with actual cuts to income taxes and de-regulation, then things will turn out for the good. But if he just relies on an innovation strategy and nothing else, we are in trouble.

  47. Ros says:

    Read somewhere that Turnbull has said he would like to find another ozmail. Another disrupter. Can only hope he isn’t so overwhelmed by himself that he thinks we are the new ozmail.

    Have struggled to work out his obsession with disrupters, he talks of innovation but never of sustaining innovation. His language is always about revolutionary rather than evolutionary. And when ne was rattling on about disrupters and how we had to grab onto them I wondered how we were to recognise them. Is It because he invested in the already going ozmail and it was a disrupter and he made boodles he concluded it is something that can be done by drawing up a list of criteria, tick the boxes and if enough ticks you have a disrupter. I am reminded of Ray Kroc, and I will get numbers wrong, but he went bankrupt 15 times before he found himself a disrupter. And his wife left him after the 11th.

    And I have this prejudice, that the left believes the world is linear and always acts as if it is.. And in a linear world how you manage things is just to make rules. If not going where planned need to make more rules. Or check lists, or criteria. And despite his claims to be adaptive agile etc, in his linear world, the one in which he believes he made ozmail, there is a checklist for building a successful business. Which he is now applying to Australia, both as a nation and as place to be a revolutionary technology centre. That he is a linear thinker.

    Anyone ever heard him acknowledge Howard, the fellow who developed ozmail?

    I think he is nuts. Poor Dennis Shanahan , reduced to writing up his office with its standing desk, and its minimalism, and Lucy’s choice of artwork for him, and the second hand Japanese table from the storage room in Parliament House. That shows what a modern, hip sort of fellow he is and obviously eminently qualified to be PM.

  48. Ros says:

    Ray Kroc for those who are too young to know, McDonalds.

  49. Stimpson J. Cat says:

    Ray Kroc for those who are too young to know, McDonalds.

    Ageist. 🙂

  50. Leo G says:

    Read somewhere that Turnbull has said he would like to find another ozmail.

    He presently finds Ozmalia a bit more to his liking.

  51. shauno says:

    We need to attract companies like SpaceX to Australia and build the Cape York space launch facilities. We also need nuclear power and more dams and better faster trains.

  52. Alfonso says:

    David , how’s that ‘open borders for unlimited immigration if you have a cheque book’ thing working out? Should be easily and proudly defended come next election. I wouldn’t worry.

  53. Gab says:

    We also need nuclear power and more dams and better faster trains.

    Don’t expect the first two items to happen under turnbull. But yeah, we’ll get VFTs for sure.

  54. johanna says:

    Ros, you are quite right.

    As I’ve said before, Turnbull just got lucky with Ozemail as an investor, and all the work was done by the management and staff.

    If he’s such a genius at picking winners, how come there hasn’t been a string of similar triumphs for him since?

    It’s bullshit.

  55. egg_ says:

    The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves.

    We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.

    Google translation: Keating was right about the ‘Banana Republic’.

  56. egg_ says:

    Have struggled to work out his obsession with disrupters

    Sounds like the mind of a narcissist, enjoys anarchy in others.

  57. Gab says:

    Google translation:

    Pretty words are cheap. turnbull uses a lot of pretty words.

  58. Pusnip says:

    This post appears to be much ado about nothing because, from a GE viewpoint, selective tax breaks have broadly the same resource aggravation as subsidies. So sorry Cats, there’s no great mischief here, apart perhaps from words with too much sincerity.

  59. Pusnip says:

    Last comment should say ‘resource allocation effects’; not ‘resource aggregation’.

  60. rickw says:

    Let’s take the example of 3D printers for domestic / light industrial use:

    the vast majority of work on this was done privately by individuals in their own time without any sort of Government funding. Why did this come about?

    1) They had spare cash and time on their hands to engage in research for their own pleasure.*
    2) They had access to the bounty of cheap parts and components supplied by a global industrial market.*
    3) They had unfettered access to all manner of information via the internet.*

    *1) There is a decreasing number of people in Australia who have this available to them thanks to absurd levels of taxation and the obscene cost of basics such as housing.

    *2) The government now wishes to stem this unfettered flow of cheap components by now taxing internet purchases for items which cost less than $1000.

    *3) Internet filtering is now an article of faith for government, we know what evil people can do with some information, but what good can others do with the same information?

    Naturally this new technology has also precipitated “moral panic” by government, “what if people print guns?!” (The real domestic gun making revolution of course happened 20 years earlier when the Chinese started churning out $500 “mini lathes”, naturally government didn’t cotton on to this and still hasn’t).

    There is not a single entity less qualified to comment on innovation than Government.

    It should also be noted that “The West” in its totality seems to be THE crucible of innovation and invention, yet government is dedicated to chipping pieces off it at every opportunity. All the time whilst “the competition” is dedicated to replicating “The West”, recognising that the totality of it is THE crucible for innovation and invention. eg. converting to Protestant Christianity and immersing their children in the 3R’s.

  61. Pusnip says:

    Whoops – wrong thread! (My comments above were meant for the EU rules thread).

  62. johanna says:

    Gab
    #1836794, posted on October 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Google translation:

    Pretty words are cheap. turnbull uses a lot of pretty words.

    Or, as they say in Yorkshire: “fine words butter no parsnips.”

  63. H B Bear says:

    Read somewhere that Turnbull has said he would like to find another ozmail. Another disrupter. Can only hope he isn’t so overwhelmed by himself that he thinks we are the new ozmail.

    Have struggled to work out his obsession with disrupters, he talks of innovation but never of sustaining innovation.

    Turnbull likes to drop the latest fashionable TED-type thinking and buzz words – to reinforce his smartest man in the room meme. I remember him dropping anti-fragile into whatever he was waffling about when Nassim Taleb’s latest book came out a while ago. Like Waffles himself it is all BS.

  64. Ros says:

    Sounds like the mind of a narcissist, enjoys anarchy in others.

    What his mate Chris Joye said about him during his time in the wilderness but planning, always planning. This was back in 2011. But could easily have been his thinking 5 weeks ago.

    “Malcolm’s most powerful solution is to go into Kamikaze mode and compel a ‘survivalist’ partyroom response. This is a risky strategy, but then Malcolm has what is known in financial markets as a “call-option-like” payoff function. He has a helluva lot of upside if he can pull it off. And if he does not, he has little to lose.

    The Kamikaze strategy involves blowing up both Abbott and Hockey…

    An objective analysis would conclude that there is risk that the polling does not get much better than this. That, surprise, surprise, the party, with Malcolm’s prodding, cannibalises itself. The big fella once said to me, You capitalise on chaos.”

    Those who believe that he is the hope for Australia And that while his overwhelming self esteem may be dangerous, he is worth it, I think are mad as well. This is a dangerous man, and as Nelson said, he is bereft of empathy. We do not matter.

    If he can’t pull off transforming Australia, as he says he intends, and he just stuffs up instead, where are we. Well he has little to lose. We have an awful lot.

    And he can’t transform Australia. But when it all turns to tears it will be our fault, not his. And off he will sail bad mouthing us.

  65. Zyconoclast says:

    I just saw on the ABC Insiders, a snippet of the Keating/O’Brien mutual masterbation session. What amazes me is that they managed to do this while fully clothed and not actually touching.
    Remarkable talent.

  66. Tel says:

    … the point that there I’d some privately-funded science does not negate the case for public supplementation to address under provision sure to free rider issues …

    Isaac Newton would have invented falling apples at least 10 years earlier if it wasn’t for all those continental apple farmers free riding on great British science.

  67. Oh come on says:

    The great thing about the internet is that when someone’s been proven right about something or someone, the wrong party used to ba able to oh so easily make some smart arse remark about hindsight being 20/20 or whatnot.

    Not this time.

    Myself and many others have for a good long spell expounded on Malcolm’s weaknesses, and explained exactly *why* it would have been a bad idea to switch Abbott for Turncoat. And we’ve been saying it long before Turnbull made his fateful move, so there’ll be no sneering about how clever we are after the fact. We had Malcolm’s number a *long* time before that, and we were nothing if not vocal about it. Consequently, we have full and unfettered ‘I told you so’ rights. Sorry, Turnbullites you’re just going to have to assume the position and take it.

    Don’t worry, though. Now your man’s in power we all have to assume the position, so you aren’t alone. Pity you weren’t perceptive enough to realise this at the time, though.

  68. Oh come on says:

    be able, not ba able. Although the sheep motif is fitting.

  69. . says:

    Pusnip
    #1836492, posted on October 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm
    I’m no great fan of publicly-funded science, but the point that there I’d some privately-funded science does not negate the case for public supplementation to address under provision sure to free rider issues, not the need for public provision to inform government in areas where private markets do not operate. Of course, it is another question as to how much Australia needs to be in this space, given our opportunities to free-ride of other nations’research efforts.

    Oh bullshit. Prove there is an underprovision, and this this “underprovision” is less than an amount which minimises R&D, innovation, GDP, private sector real after tax wages…or some other objective measure.

  70. Rob MW says:

    Western politicians just love science particularly ideologically corrupted science, it justifies all sorts of laws, regulations and taxes. The earth summit (1992) in Rio is a classical example of when ideologically corrupted scientists decided to take the plunge following the failed ozone hole scare bullshit which ultimately culminated in the Montreal Agreement which barely satisfied the bullshit scientists but showed how vulnerable elected politicians could become with the right sort of corrupt science.

  71. I Am the Walras, Equilibrate and Price Take says:

    Guys, I enjoyed the discussion, but I think you’re missing what’s happening here.

    Waffleworth can’t talk about the deficit and debt, as troubling as it is, coz that got his predecessors into trouble, he doesn’t care about anyway, and is planning to blow out the deficit in order to buy himself an election victory.

    So he’s using this ‘innovation’ schtick to fill the empty space left by the fact that he can’t talk about the most pressing problem facing the nation.

    What he says doesn’t mean anything. We all know government can’t drive innovation, and actually impairs it by soaking up the productive sector’s surplus and pissing it up against a wall. It’s just ‘look at the silly monkey’ all over again.

    Wank wank wank. ‘Innovation’ – wank – ‘Disruption’ – wank – ‘Science’ – wank wank wank.

    More crap from the parasite class to distract us from their leeching.

  72. . says:

    A conservative government that doesn’t try to reach 20% government spending to GDP ratio with balanced budgets, spending and regulating on the basis of cost-benefits analysis and tax reform isn’t trying hard enough.

    15% would be a moderate libertarian and 10% would be a minarchist position.

    25% is centrist, anything above this is left wing, above 30% is dedicated left and above 35% is far left.

    Rudd/Gillard was nearing 40%, peaking at 38%.

    Anyone who thinks we need to go above 40% is either a spiv with an agenda or so left wing they’re either a kid in the socialist alliance or otherwise think Marx wrote gospel truths.

    Just cut the size of government Turnbull, you fat headed idiot.

  73. Mark A says:

    I cannot see gov. funding for any research justified in general. That’s what we pay universities for, they can and usually do go out on whims and fancies and if nothing comes out of it that’s OK. (not really)

    Only private for-profit organisations have specific research targets and if they discover something else in the process as a serendipitous happening all the better. I’d better support them with tax write offs then wasting monies on ‘scientists’ on non-specified research for the sake of research.
    There would be one exception , during an emergency like war or such every effort should be financed to have a solution to a specific problem (dam busters anyone).

  74. Yohan says:

    Don’t expect the first two items to happen under turnbull. But yeah, we’ll get VFTs for sure.

    The progressive left’s obsession with Trains never ceases to amaze. Its an 1850’s technology, and they want the world brought back to it.

  75. Slayer of Memes says:

    Dear Senator Leyonhjelm,

    You didn’t deign to answer me in the other thread where you popped up to defend Dear leader Turnbull, but seeing you pasted here, i’ll tray again..

    Are you aware that in Question Time in the House of Representatives on October 20th, Malcontent Termite was asked a question about s18c, and responded (in effect) “won’t happen under this government” because:

    We must “balance demands of free speech with domestic harmony”.

    How does this reconcile with your statement about him withdrawing support so as not to use the issue as a ‘lightning rod for an internal Liberal Party fight’?

    Additionally, you claim that the numbers were never there for the amendment, and yet we have seen Labor sources quoted in a news article reporting that “the Labor opposition signalling it would be willing to co-operate and help bring the amendment to a head“. Is this untrue and, if so, will you be calling on either Labor to repudiate the story, or Fairfax to publish a correction? Or have you been duped by someone (potentially the person you are telling us all to fall behind as the new PM)?

    I look forward to your response to these new develoments.

    Signed,
    An Australian Voter

  76. H B Bear says:

    I look forward to your response to these new develoments.

    Don’t hold your breath.

  77. Snoopy says:

    Labor agreed to support a bringing 18c to vote. They did not give any guarantee to support its amendment. Dogging bringing 18c to a vote simply spared outing the Turnbullians as the enemies of free speech. Protecting Turnbull is more important than fighting for free speech.

  78. H B Bear says:

    Lord Waffleworth isn’t going to die in a ditch for anything that doesn’t contribute to the ongoing beatification (and fellation) of Lord Waffleworth.

  79. JohnA says:

    Politicians believe that innovation can be turned on and off like a tap: You start with pure scientific insights, which then get translated into applied science, which in turn become useful technology. So what you must do, as a patriotic legislator, is to ensure that there is a ready supply of money to scientists on the top floor of their ivory towers, and lo and behold, technology will come clanking out of the pipe at the bottom of the tower.

    I’m not sure that the comments have covered this point:
    Historically, Australia has punched above its weight in basic science with 2% of Nobel winners (IIRC) and some excellent specialties like medical science.

    But we suck at the heavy lifting required in applied science, innovation, working technology and product development. My interpretation of the history is to the effect that we have a small population so that we have always had limited horizons.

    That is, we have rarely considered the world as our market in the way that the US innovators have for example, or the Singaporean and Hong Kong Chinese a century earlier, or the Japanese world-beaters post WW2.

  80. JohnA says:

    Oh, and for Walter Plinge, this is a nineteenth century commentary on innovation:
    From Princess Ida (Gilbert & Sullivan)
    HILARION
    Hush, scoffer; ere you sound your puny thunder,
    List to their aims, and bow your head in wonder!

    They intend to send a wire
    To the moon –
    To the moon;
    And they’ll set the Thames on fire
    Very soon –
    Very soon;

    Then they’ll learn to make silk purses
    With their rigs –
    With their rigs,
    From the ears of Lady Circe’s
    Piggy-wigs –
    Piggy-wigs.
    And weasels at their slumbers
    They trepan –
    They trepan;
    To get sunbeams from cucumbers
    They’ve a plan –
    They’ve a plan.

    They’ve a firmly rooted notion
    They can cross the Polar Ocean,
    And they’ll find Perpetual Motion,
    If they can –
    If they can.

    These are the phenomena
    That ev’ry pretty domina
    Is hoping at her Universitee
    We shall see!

    As for fashion, they forswear it,
    So they say –
    So they say;
    And the circle – they will square it
    Some fine day –
    Some fine day;

    Then the little pigs they’re teaching
    For to fly –
    For to fly;

    etc., you get the drift!

  81. Tel says:

    Ask Lord Waffleworth about what he intends to do in the way of helping Uber to break the taxi cartels, and his plans to assist Bitcoin in breaking the banking and finance cartels.

    That should be a rough gauge on how he really feels about “disruptive technology”.

  82. Gab says:

    Excellent question, Tel.

  83. Diogenes says:

    Let’s take the example of 3D printers for domestic / light industrial use:

    Actually a great example of innovation stifled.

    As I heard the story at an inservice, the holder of the patent(s) (Hull @ 3D Systems Corporation) initially would not licence the technology, or charged an arm and a leg (and the firstborn) and 3d printing remained a very expensive curiosity.

    With the expiration of the patent(s) a few years ago, came an explosion of 3d printer manufacturers, innovation, the open source “maker” movement, and a huge reduction in cost. There are numerous free programs around now to fix / convert STL files into printer specific G Code required to print on a printer. Some of the innovation is changes in materials including printing body parts, and even whole houses, others is reducing the price, and new the Recyclebot printers which use RepRap (recycled plastics) are helping reduce waste (and make it worthwhile to recycle).

  84. Ros says:

    Off topic but an example of the personality politics that Turnbull represents, deliberately. On no reform to negative gearing at macrobusiness.

    “Memo to Kelly: Tony Abbott is no longer your leader, so there is no reason to persist with lies to defend his captain’s call not to reform negative gearing.”

    First we have the implied and bizarre claim that every decision the Abbott government made was a captain’s pick. To be fair Turnbull promotes the meme. But the very fact that the previous decision stands proves it wasn’t a captain’s pick.

    And then the decision, to stay with it is a decision of Turnbull. Elsewhere macrobusiness congratulates Turnbull for going through reversing Abbott’s “captain’s picks” Macrobusiness doesn’t like the negative gearing decision, but is Turnbull held accountable for his own decision. No Abbott is even responsible for Turnbull’s unacceptable decision.

    It is truly worrying how this man thinks and the cult like following he is building.

  85. Combine Dave says:

    We also need nuclear power and more dams and better faster trains.

    Don’t expect the first two items to happen under turnbull. But yeah, we’ll get VFTs for sure.

    I am more confident they will spend billions on VFT and deliver nothing (NBN style).

  86. wreckage says:

    there is no reason to persist with lies to defend his captain’s call not to reform negative gearing

    There is no need to “reform negative gearing”. Negative gearing applies in every industry and at all times, it just gets a special name in real-estate, and only in Australia. It will not be changed because it is correct and to change it will knock the sector out of alignment with every other taxpayer in Australia.

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