The Australian Financial Review’s innovation summit is on today and Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel is one of the keynote speakers.
Before taking to the stage he spoke to the Fin, delivering what looked like a sly dig at “innovation PM” Malcolm Turnbull, saying:
“You cannot order your country to have ideas, you cannot order your country to pursue them – any more than you can order a soccer team to win.”
He also pointed to the benefit of government investment in science, saying: “If science turns money into knowledge – then innovation turns that knowledge back into money, and generally a lot more money than the taxpayers put in.”
Warming to the theme at the Innovation Summit, Dr Finkel told the gathering today that Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon all spend more on R&D than our federal government, which manages a $445 billion budget in a $1.6 trillion economy.
Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of the $4 billion Australian tech company Atlassian, raised his eyebrow on Twitter at that observation:
If this single statistic doesn't make all Australians stop and think about our national priorities… https://t.co/JlGeQGfO2I
— Mike Cannon-Brookes (@mcannonbrookes) August 17, 2016
Over to you, industry, innovation and science minister Greg Hunt.