Another Liberal party politician who is endearing for all the wrong reasons is Christopher "The Fixer" Pyne.
As the federal minister in charge of a rapidly-growing part of the economy, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at Pyne's recent example of ABBA as the sort of innovation that Australia needs to emulate:
Due to its unique sound, the band had been seen to be very innovative in the ‘70s, he said. “And we are counting on Australia to give the world the next ABBA.”The quote comes from Margot Saville's delightful piece for Crikey on an "innovation summit" held in Sydney recently.
Saville praises Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer, who identifies the damage that Baird's government is doing to Sydney:
“The NSW government is so addicted to gambling revenue that it has shut down most of Sydney’s nightlife in order to boost this line item by funneling people into the casino or pokies rooms ... It’s a bit hard to build a technology industry when every second 20-year-old wants to leave because you’ve turned the place into a bumpkin country town.”Gambling revenue amounted to $2.1 billion in the NSW state budget last year and policies like the 'lock out' laws are doing substantial damage. The result, Barrie observes, is difficulty attracting skilled professionals to Sydney at a time when there's a virtual goldrush in IT around the world.
The three largest companies in the world, by market capitalisation, are Apple, Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft. These companies, together with Facebook (six) and Amazon (nine) generate more than half a trillion dollars in revenue every year, which is 70% of Australia’s gross national income, he said. By contrast, the top 10 Australian companies consist of two miners, four banks, Telstra, a supermarket company and a superannuation company.In addition to difficulty attracting skilled professionals, there's a significant shortage of students learning IT. Numbers have decreased by around 40% in the last decade.
When I was in Sydney last year it was interesting to hear grumbling from a couple of people about a crackdown on services like Airbnb, which offers a way for people to rent accommodation like private dwellings. These services have been a rapidly growing competitor to services like hotels. Yet, once again, the NSW government appears to be responding to lobbyists rather than representing the interests of constituents.
Anyway, I was just thinking about these issues while reading Monica Tan optimistically suggest that "lockout laws will spark a Sydney underground renaissance". At this point one can only dream.