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      science and technology policy, MIC program, market failure, venture capital, public policy


            The need to develop policies relating to the development of venture capital markets in Australia was reported regularly in the late 1970s and the early 1980s in science and technology policy literature. The Hawke Government's response to this area of market failure was to implement the MIC program. The history of this program indicates that although venture capital has been identified as an area of market failure, the program has been supported in accordance with the political climate prevailing at the time.


            Author and article information

            Critical Studies in Innovation
            Pluto Journals
            June 1989
            : 7
            : 1
            : 92-102
            8629043 Prometheus, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1989: pp. 92–102
            Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Page count
            Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 51, Pages: 11
            Original Articles

            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics
            venture capital,public policy,science and technology policy,market failure,MIC program


            1. J. Button, Management and Investment Companies Program., News Release from the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce on 8 October 1987.

            2. For empirical evidence of this assertion as one example of much literature on the subject, Department of Industry and Commerce, Establishment of an Advisory Service on Computer Assistance in the Manufacturing Industry., AGPS, Canberra, 1984.

            3. OECD, Reviews of National Science Policy., OECD, Paris, 1977, p. 26.

            4. The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Industrial Research and Development in Australia., a report from the Senate Standing Commmittee on Science and the Environment, AGPS, Canberra, 1979, p. 282.

            5. ibid., p. 180.

            6. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Technological Change in Australia (Myers Committee), Technological Change in Australia., AGPS, Canberra, 1980.

            7. ASTEC, Incentives for Innovation in Australian Industry., AGPS, Canberra, 1983, p. 2.

            8. Committee to Review Productivity and Innovation Programs (Kirby Committee), Committee of Inquiry to Review Productivity and Innovation Programs., AGPS, Canberra, 1981, p. 19.

            9. ibid., p. 19.

            10. Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (Espie Committee), Developing High Technology Enterprises for Australia., a report prepared by the High Technology Financing Committee of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences for the Minister for Science and Technology. Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, Parkville, 1983.

            11. ibid., p. 25.

            12. ibid., p. 26.

            13. ibid., p. 64.

            14. For a more detailed discussion of this contention see N. F. Ryan, Aspects of Science Policy in the Political Sphere 1972–1984., Master of Science Dissertation, Griffith University, Brisbane, 1986.

            15. ALP, Platform, Constitution and Rules. — as approved by the 35th National Conference, Canberra, R. McMullan, Barton, 1982, p. 149.

            16. Fraser, M., We're Not Waiting for the World., Policy Speech. Authorised by T. Eggleton, Brownhall Printing, Melbourne, 1983, p. 8.

            17. This is supported empirically in Ryan, op. cit.

            18. IAC, New Technology and Industry Assistance., discussion paper, AGPS, Canberra, 1983, p. 4.

            19. ibid., p. 4.

            20. ibid., p. 4.

            21. ibid., p. 4.

            22. These concepts were originally developed by Nelson and Arrow but are reviewed in an Australian context by R.A. Joseph and R. Johnston, ‘Market failure and government support for science and technology: economic theory versus political practice’, Prometheus., 3, 1, June 1985.

            23. A discussion of government subsidisation of the mining industry can be found in G. Crough, Foreign Ownership and Control of the Australian Mineral Industry., Occasional Paper, Transnational Corporations Research Project, Sydney, 1978.

            24. The Age., 29 August, 1983.

            25. ibid.

            26. The Sydney Morning Herald., 31 August, 1983.

            27. ibid.

            28. The Australian., 12 September, 1983.

            29. ibid.

            30. R. J. Hawke, ‘Federal policies for technological change’, Search., 14, 9/10, October/November, 1983.

            31. Bureau of Industry Economics, Review of venture capital in Australia and the MIC program., Program Evaluation Report 4, AGPS, Canberra, 1987.

            32. ibid., p. xvii.

            33. ibid., p. xviii.

            34. ibid., p. xviii.

            35. N. F. Ryan, Developing Australia's Industrial Base, The Creation of Venture Capital and the Management and Investment Companies Program., Master of Philosophy Thesis, Griffith University, Brisbane, 1987, especially Chapters 6 & 7. The spokespersons referred to here were representatives of MICs and are cited in this thesis.

            36. BIE, op. cit., p. 88.

            37. ibid., p. 90.

            38. ibid., p. 73.

            39. ibid., p. 107.

            40. ibid., p. 108.

            41. ibid., p. xx.

            42. ibid., p. 128.

            43. ibid., p. xxi.

            44. Ryan, op. cit., chapter 6.

            45. See, for example, Jones’ speech in introducing the MIC legislation to Parliament, Parliamentary Debates — Hansard. The House of Representatives, 30 November, 1983.

            46. BIE, op. cit., p. 31.

            47. Ryan, op. cit., chapter 6.

            48. MIC Licensing Board, Annual Report 1986–87, AGPS, Canberra, p. 73.

            49. BIE, op. cit., p. 42.

            50. MIC Licensing Board, Annual Report, 1985–86., AGPS, Canberra, p. 8.

            51. Financial Review., 22 December, 1987.


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