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      THE POLITICS OF HIGH TECHNOLOGY IN AUSTRALIA

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      Prometheus
      Pluto Journals
      politics, symbols, rhetoric, high technology, Australia
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            Abstract

            The high technology debate in Australia since 1981 is analysed using one of the most prominent features of the debate — he political rhetoric and symbols used in the debate. This form of analysis emphasises both instrumental and expressive political activity. The high technology debate is seen as having a significant expressive component and function. Most of the advocacy for high technology came as a result of institutional pressures and efforts of the Minister for Science and Technology, Barry Jones. High technology became a ‘maverick’ term in political debate but it has now become an accepted part of current economic language. The paper draws a number of conclusions for policy from the analysis.

            Content

            Author and article information

            Journal
            cpro20
            CPRO
            Prometheus
            Critical Studies in Innovation
            Pluto Journals
            0810-9028
            1470-1030
            June 1989
            : 7
            : 1
            : 103-128
            Affiliations
            Article
            8629044 Prometheus, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1989: pp. 103–128
            10.1080/08109028908629044
            af5e0aa4-55da-41be-8cda-c81d3fed8c78
            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/.

            History
            Page count
            Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 123, Pages: 26
            Categories
            Original Articles

            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics
            high technology,rhetoric,politics,Australia,symbols

            NOTES AND REFERENCES

            1. The author worked in various policy areas of the former Departments of Industry and Commerce and Science and Technology in Canberra during the period 1981–84.

            2. M. Edelman, The Symbolic Uses of Politics., University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1964, p. 5; CD. Elder and R.W. Cobb, The Political Uses of Symbols., Longman, New York, 1983, pp. 28–9; M. Edelman, Political Language, Words that Succeed and Policies that Fail., Academic Press, New York, 1977, p. 142; and G.L. Clark and M. Dear, State Apparatus, Structures and Language of Legitimacy., Allen & Unwin, Boston, 1984, p. 95.

            3. Australian Government, White Paper on Manufacturing Industry., AGPS, Canberra, 1977.

            4. See Leon Glezer, Tariff Politics., Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1982; R. Joseph, ‘Recent trends in Australian Government policies for technological innovation’, Prometheus., 2, 1, June 1984, pp. 93–111; R. Joseph and R. Johnston, ‘Market failure and government support for science and technology: economic theory versus political practice’, Prometheus., 3, 1, June 1985, pp. 138–155; and G. Kitney, ‘The high tech debate’, National Times., 13–19 February 1983, pp. 15–20.

            5. Department of Science and Technology (DST), Annual Report 1980–81., AGPS, Canberra, 1981, pp. 1–2.

            6. D. Thomson, ‘Higher education institutions and innovation in Australian industry’, The Colonel Daniel Edwards Evans Memorial Lecture 1981, University of Queensland, 6 October 1981, mimeo, p. 3.

            7. DST, Creating High Technology Enterprises., AGPS, Canberra, 1981.

            8. See Department of Productivity, Corporate Management Plan., AGPS, Canberra, 1980, pp. 24–5; Department of Productivity, Annual Report 1978–79., AGPS, Canberra, p. 11; Department of Productivity, Annual Report 1979–80., AGPS, Canberra, 1980, pp. 18–19; and DST, Creating High Technology Enterprises, op. tit., p. 72.

            9. ibid.

            10. DST (Productivity Development Division), Productivity Development Programs 1977–81., Volume 3, DST, Canberra, 1981, Section 7.8.1.

            11. DST, Creating High Technology Enterprises, op. tit., p. iii.

            12. M. Edelman, Politics as Symbolic Action., Markham Publishing Co., Chicago, 1971.

            13. DST, Creating High Technology Enterprises, op. tit., p. 1.

            14. ibid., p. 20 and p. 29.

            15. ‘Development Board reports success in Europe’, Canberra Times., 6 June 1981.

            16. ‘Speech to Chamber of Commerce’, Commonwealth Record., 23–29 March, 1981, p. 291.

            17. House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates. (Hansard), 20 August 1981, p.676.

            18. ibid., pp. 676–7.

            19. ibid., 26 March 1981, p. 951.

            20. ibid., 25 August, 1981, p. 759; ‘Speech to Chamber of Commerce’, op. tit., p. 291; and House of Representatives, op. tit., 25 August 1981, p. 759, 761.

            21. M. Pascoe, ‘Chips appear to be down for Aust. wafer project’, Financial Review., 15 December 1981, p. 18.

            22. Interview with D. Thomson, former Minister for Science and Technology, 20 Gosse St., Kingston, ACT 2603, 23 September 1986.

            23. Interview with Randall Wilson, Policy Development Unit, Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce.

            24. ibid.

            25. ibid.

            26. Private Communication, Barry Howe, Town Planner, National Capital Development Commission, Canberra, 25 September 1985.

            27. A. Yates, ‘High-technology firms seek assistance’, Canberra Times., 1 December 1982.

            28. ‘US Computer plant for SA’, Scitech., 1, 2, June 1981, p. 12.

            29. ‘Vic High Tech Task Force Urged’, Scitech., 2, 3, March 1982, p. 5.

            30. See for example: D. Moore, ‘Hartley calls for action on technology’, The Australian., 19 May 1981; and F. Longhurst, ‘Approach made to NSW, Canberra Times., 25 March 1981, p. 1 and p. 20.

            31. F. Longhurst, ‘Nat Semi to delay its ACT plant’, Canberra Times., 18 February 1982, p. 1.

            32. ‘Assistance Programs in the Balance’, Scitech., 1, 4, August 1981, pp. 11–12.

            33. Senate, Parliamentary Debates., 11 June, 1981, p. 3035.

            34. ‘Minister urges more funding by industry’, Scitech., 1, 1, May 1981, p. 8.

            35. ‘Govt, aid ‘a must’ for electronics’, The Australian., 6 April 1981, p. 21.

            36. ‘Thomson lashes industrial R&D effort’, Scitech., 1, 2, June 1981, p. 3.

            37. D. Moore, ‘Caelli welcomes Government on technology’, The Australian., 10 March 1981; ‘Govt, aid ‘a must’ for electronics’, op. cit.; and House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates., 6 May 1981, p. 2058.

            38. Association mounts High Tech Campaign’, Scitech., 1, 6, Oct. 1981, p. 12.

            39. ‘Ruinous Decision on Processors’, Scitech., 1, 5, Sept. 1981, pp. 5–6.

            40. L.A. Wisbey (ed.), Government Assistance to the Scientific Industry., ASIA, Melbourne, 1981, p. 1.

            41. Department of Administrative Services, ‘Government Preference for Australian Made Goods’, News Release., 1 Dec. 1982.

            42. ‘Govt aid ‘a must’ for electronics’, op. cit.; and House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates., 6 May 1981, pp. 2043–4.

            43. ‘Fillip for CSIRO in Tough Science Budget’, Scitech., 1, 5, Sept. 1981, p. 1.

            44. See for example: ‘Assistance Programs in the Balance’, op. cit., pp. 11–12; and ‘Industry seeks new life for IR & DI Scheme’, Scitech., 2, 2, February 1982, p. 1.

            45. Interview with D. Thomson, op. cit.

            46. Australian Treasury, Productivity and Innovation Programs., Submission to the Committee to Review Productivity and Innovation Programs, Canberra, October 1982, p. 64.

            47. ‘Reduced Support for Industry’, Canberra Times, 2. May 1981, p. 1.

            48. ‘IAC questions investment, research grants’, Financial Review., 23 December 1981.

            49. ‘Grants Flow as IR & DI Funding Freeze Ends’, Scitech., 2, 8, August 1982, p. 1.

            50. Joseph and Johnston, op. cit., p. 150.

            51. IAC, New Technology and Industry Assistance., Discussion Paper, AGPS, Canberra, 1983, p. 4.

            52. IAC, Certain Budgetary Assistance to Industry., AGPS, Canberra, 1982, p. 91.

            53. House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates., 12 May 1981, p. 2230.

            54. DST, Bases for Science and Technology Policy., DST, Canberra, 1981, p. 2.

            55. ASTEC, Microelectronics., AGPS, Canberra, 1981.

            56. ‘Scant Capital could curb genetic industry’, Scitech., 1, 6, December 1981, p. 1; AATS, Manufacturing Resources of Australia., AATS, Melbourne, 1981; and J.M. Bennett, R.E. Cooke-Yarborough and G.C. Lowenthal (eds), Venture Capital and Technological Innovation in Australia., papers presented at ANZAAS Symposium, Sydney, 20 February 1982, ANZAAS, Sydney 1982.

            57. Australian Industry has Canadian Disease’, Scitech., 1, 7, November 1981, p. 3; and Interview, D. Thomson, op. cit.

            58. House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates., 13 October 1981, p. 1870.

            59. Interview, D. Thomson, op. cit.

            60. ‘Scant capital could curb genetic industry’, Scitech., 1, 6, December 1981, p. 1.

            61. ASTEC, Microelectronics, op. cit., p. 1.

            62. Private communication with former DST officers.

            63. D. Thomson, Address to the CSIRO Division of Manufacturing Technology., 26 March 1982, mimeo, 1982.

            64. Interview with D. Thomson, op. cit.

            65. D. Thomson, Address to the CSIRO, op. cit.

            66. Interview with D Thomson, op. cit. It is not known if Thomson ever ‘used’ Jones to put pressure on Cabinet colleagues but even if he did not it is likely that Jones’ efforts would have strengthened Thomson's position.

            67. ibid.

            68. J. Ford, ‘ALP finally comes to grips with the problems at hand’, The Australian., 8 July, 1982.

            69. Interview with D. Thomson, op. cit.

            70. Prime Minister, Address to the Young Liberals National Convention., Adelaide, 14 January 1983, mimeo, Canberra.

            71. G. Hywood, ‘Fraser's high-tech swing’, Financial Review., 27 January 1983, p. 1.

            72. DST, ‘High Technology central to economic recovery’, Media Release, 16 February 1983; and ALP, National Recovery and Reconstruction Plan., mimeo, Canberra, 1983, p. 24.

            73. ibid., p. 24.

            74. ‘Election could fuel high-technology push’, Scitech., 3, 2, February 1983, pp. 3–4.

            75. DST, ‘New Support for Industrial Research and Development’, Media Release, 9 February, 1983.

            76. J. Ford, ‘Millions pour into high technology’, The Australian., 10 February 1983; J. Short, ‘$65m package to boost business’, Sydney Morning Herald., 16 February 1983; and J. Ford, ‘Research aid welcome but will it work?’, The Australian., 17 February 1983.

            77. Liberal Party of Australia, ‘We're not waiting for the world’, policy speech by the Prime Minister, 15 February 1983, Brownhall Printing, Melbourne, 1983.

            78. ‘Election could fuel high-technology push’, op. cit.

            79. ibid.

            80. ‘New Government promises high technology boost’, Scitech., 3, 3, March 1983, p. 1; and ‘Jones joins key committees’, Scitech., 3, 4, April 1983, p. 2.

            81. B. Jones, ‘Keynote Address’, Management Technology Education Conference on Sunrise Industries, Sydney Regent Hotel, 31 May 1983, p. 8. Jones’ sunrise industries included the following: biotechnology; personal computers computer software; VLSI computer chips; scientific instrumentation; medical technologies; lasers; communications technologies; industrial ceramics; solar energy cells; shape-memory alloys; plasma physics; robots; intermediate technologies; hydrogen generation; and biomass.

            82. B. Jones, ‘Address to the National Science Forum’, CSIRO, Canberra, 7 December 1982, p. 2.

            83. C. Brammall, ‘Cabinet refuses to let minister deliver speech’, Canberra Times., 12 April, 1983.

            84. A. C. Evans, ‘Address to the Australian Institute of Metals Seminar on Finding a Future for Metal based Manufacturing Industry in Australia’, mimeo, Metal Trades Industry Association of Australia, 9 May 1983, p. 9.

            85. B. Jones, ‘Keynote Address’, Management Technology Education Conference on Sunrise Industries, Sydney Regent Hotel, 31 May 1983, p. 8. (This speech was largely prepared within the Department).

            86. Private communication, DST officers.

            87. ‘Sunrise choice questioned’, Scitech., 3, 5, May 1983, p. 4.

            88. B. Mills, ‘Minister drops hint on funds menu’, Financial Review., 1 June 1983.

            89. M. O'Neill, ‘Tax scheme aims to bring Australia into high-tech age’, The Age., 29 August 1983, p. 1.

            90. ‘W.A. Technology Minister Mooted’, Scitech., 3, 2, February 1983, p. 8; and ‘States move to push High Tech’, Scitech., 3, 3, March 1983, pp. 6–8.

            91. See ‘Treasury frustrates venture capital moves’, Scitech., 3, 7, July 1983, p. 1; ‘Talks key to venture finance future’, Scitech., 3, 5, May 1983, p. 3; and M. O'Neill, op. cit.

            92. House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates., 28 October 1982, p. 2742.

            93. B. Jones, ‘Keynote Address’, op. cit., p. 8.

            94. AATS, Developing High Technology Enterprises for Australia., (Espie Report) AATS, Melbourne, 1983, pp. 1–2.

            95. ASTEC, Incentives for Innovation in Australian Industry., AGPS, Canberra, June 1983; ‘Aust. Preference policy urged’, Scitech., 3, 6, June 1983; pp. 13–14; and ‘Computer industry presses for change’, Scitech., 3, 9, September 1983, pp. 15–16.

            96. ‘CSIRO industry R&D shake-up planned’, Scitech., 3, 6, June 1983, p. 1.

            97. ‘Jones quashes CSIRO secession’, Scitech., 3, 3, March 1983, p. 8; ‘Jones directive stirs CSIRO’, Scitech., 3, 9, September 1983, p. 6; and ‘CSIRO pinpoints H. Tech. priorities’, Scitech., 3, 10, October 1983, pp. 10–11.

            98. IAC, New Technology and Industry Assistance., AGPS, Canberra, 1983, p. 33.

            99. DST, Submission to the Uhrig Review of the Industries Assistance Commission., DST, Canberra, October 1983, p. 4.

            100. W.J. McG. Tegart, ‘Technology Policy: The case for a more selective approach’, Ascent., 1, 1, May 1983, pp. 13–16.

            101. I. Reinecke, ‘Button not a technological romantic’, Communications Australia., October 1982, pp. 8–9; J. Durie, ‘Sunrise Industries may not be such a cure all: Button’, Financial Review., 29 February 1984; N. Hurst, ‘Government Science Policy — Future Directions and Lessons from History’, Leon Peres Memorial Seminar at the University of Melbourne, 4 June 1985, DST, Canberra, 1985; and A. Breathnach, Science Policy Review of Australia: Background Report., mimeo, DST, 1984, p. 73.

            102. R. Joseph, ‘Recent tends in Australian government policies for technological development, Prometheus., 2, 1, June 1984, pp. 93–111.

            103. M. O'Neill, op.cit., p. 1.

            104. ‘Time ‘running-out’ for high technology industry’, Canberra Times., 26 June 1983, p. 1.

            105. B. Jones, ‘Are the Sleepers Waking? — Closing Address’, in DST National Technology Conference., AGPS, Canberra 1984, p. 223.

            106. A. Peacock, ‘The Liberal Approach to Change’, The 1983 Alfred Deakin Lecture, Melbourne University Liberal Club, 28 July 1983.

            107. R.J.L. Hawke, ‘Opening Address’ in DST, National Technology Conference, op. cit., p. 1.

            108. R.J.L. Hawke, op. cit.

            109. P. Wild, ‘Can CSIRO be the Engine of Growth for Australia's Development?’ in DST, National Technology Conference, op. cit., p. 74.

            110. ‘Radical tech. strategy ruffles bureaucracy’, Scitech., 4, 4, April 1984, p. 1.

            111. Department of Science (DoS) and Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce (DITAC), National Technology Strategy: Revised Discussion Draft., Canberra Printing and Publishing Co., Fyshwick, ACT, May 1985.

            112. ‘More than a word of praise for Minister’, Canberra Times., 15 May 1984, p. 1.

            113. DST, 1984–85 Budget Papers., DST, Canberra, mimeo, 21 August 1985.

            114. See R. Gaind, ‘CSIRO plant scientists concerned for Australia’, Canberra Times., 15 September 1984; P. Castle, ‘CSIRO staff protest cuts’, Canberra Times., 14 September 1984; Australia is third rate’, Canberra Times., 24 August 1984; and DITAC, Budget 1985–86., DITAC, Canberra, 1985, pp. 15–19.

            115. Private communication, DST officers.

            116. Interview, D. Thomson, op. cit.

            117. L. N. Hingley, ‘The Development of a National Technology Strategy’, Address on behalf of the ACTU to the ANZAAS Symposium, Camberra, 17 May 1985.

            118. Prime Minister, 1984 ALP Policy Speech., by R. J. Hawke, Opera House, Sydney, 13 November 1984, pp. 1–2.

            119. DITAC, Budget 1985–86., DITAC, Canberra, 1985, pp. 15–19.

            120. Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, ‘Industry, Technology and Commerce Budget 1986–87’, News Release., 93/86, 19 August 1986.

            121. EPAC, Technology and Innovation., Council Paper No. 19, EPAC, Canberra, 1986, p. 1. EPAC was also working on the following: EPAC, High Technology Industries in Australia., Council Paper No. 25, EPAC, Canberra, 1987.

            122. EPAC, Technology and Innovation, ibid., p. 22.

            123. ‘High-tech city’, Sci-Facts., 7, 1, January 1988, p. 1.

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