blog I don’t want to comment too strongly on the substance of the speech at this point, but I wanted to make readers aware that Malcolm Turnbull’s Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher has delivered a major speech on the Coalition’s vision for the Digital Economy. You can find the full text online. Some of the more pointed comments from the speech:
“In my view one sensible principle which should guide our decision making as a nation is to play to our strengths.
I was struck by a point made by the OECD in its 2011 Science, Technology and Innovation Scorecard: the degree of specialisation of every G7 economy except Canada has steadily increased in recent years. In a world of ever-increasing trade, this makes sense and is consistent with the principle of comparative advantage.
Lest I be misunderstood, I am not arguing for a second that we should ignore the digital disruption of our economy and retreat to industries where we have traditional strengths.
Rather, I am arguing that digital disruption is making the world an even more intensively competitive place. On the plus side, that means that Australia certainly has the capacity to be world competitive in developing and exporting software – and unlike many other products, because it is weightless and incurs no transport costs, we do not face a cost disadvantage from being a long way from major markets.
But on the minus side, businesses located in lots of other countries can also be world competitive. So it becomes even more important to work out what your strengths are – and where you are going to be good enough to build not just a strong market share in Australia but a strong market share globally.
One implication of that principle, I believe, is that if Australia has a world class, large scale resources industry, or agriculture industry, then the development of IT applications and services to make that industry more productive and efficient might be a niche where Australian companies have an advantage.”
I personally view this speech as being likely to have been delivered at least partially in reaction to a speech on a similar topic made several weeks ago by Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen. You can check out that speech here.
Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull