The Inside Track: Australia’s tech sector has a new champion: Wyatt Roy


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  1. It is a lovely thought, and everyone will like it. But how could one “champion” something that one really knows nothing about? Yes, he could “support” or even “sponsor”. He might “approve” or “authorise”. He can blah-blah. There must be other words. I can’t see how the 25 year old Wyatt, who became famous for entering the Parliament so early in life, could “champion” the tech sector. Nice young bloke but never worked in tech. Had nothing to do with it. Never started a company: nothing: ever (but apparently “he’s already strongly demonstrated that he understands the needs of Australia’s technology startup sector” – fantasy). This all seems to have entered la-la land at warp Truly, Wyatt knows nothing about “innovation”: how could he? This is very silly I have to say. 100% hype. Apologies for being so frank, Mikael

    • I definitely agree with you :)

      It’s difficult for anyone who has no direct experience working in a sector to really understand the dynamics of that sector. Personally, I really draw upon my background working as a Linux systems administrator to understand what it’s like working in IT departments and technology companies.

      However, I do think Wyatt Roy groks the sector to the fullest extent that someone can who hasn’t worked in the sector. He knows the issues and is fluent with being able to discuss them and have an opinion on them.

      This is just the reality of politics. As a politician or as a political staffer (as I was for Senator Ludlam), you are required to be across many different areas simultaneously — some of which you have no direct experience in. So what do you do? You speak to experts constantly, do research, and when it really comes down to it … you fudge it.

      It’s never possible to do a perfect job, but I think Wyatt is doing a job that is more than good enough for someone at his level of politics. Sure, he’s probably not across every area of foreign, economic, industrial relations, defence and health policy. But he’s picked a few areas and is making a serious go at them.

      You have to give him respect for this — a lot of MPs don’t really try anywhere near as hard as he is :)

      • Glad we agree :-) Wyatt can talk “about” innovation sure. That’s mostly what happens with innovation: talk. Can’t see it, can’t put it in a bottle, can’t even define it accurately. His startup example in the ABC interview was antique: from 1997. Wyatt was 7 years of age when Seek appeared. That’s Grade 2 in Queensland, and perhaps he didn’t have a bicycle until he was 8.

        He’s been sitting quietly in Parliament for 5 years. A part-time course of study would take that long, and the taxpayer would pay for it. This was the story of Senator Lundy (Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy in the Second Rudd Ministry). No qualifications and no inclination to get any. Never worked in tech but apparently knew something “about” it. Had no fear of speaking in front of people who knew that she didn’t know. There’s really a lot of difference between merely knowing “about” something and actually knowing something. The difference matters.

        Renai, 5 years in Canberra is not “working with the tech startup sector for some time”. Sits in a Comcar – gets out – sits in a meeting – gets in – sits in a Comcar. Now, that ain’t workin’ ….

  2. Turnbull is putting fresh young faces into positions to appeal to a voter subset and garner good press (also to try and counter Labours early start at this). Good bad or otherwise its a political move but I do hope its able to end up for the better for the sector.

    • There is definitely an element of this — Turnbull’s Cabinet has more young and female faces than Abbott by far ;)

      However, Roy also deserves this … he has been spending a great deal of effort working with the tech startup sector for some time. And he’s also been an MP for five years — that’s more than enough time to achieve an assistant minister role.

      I’m prepared to say this one was done mainly on merit.

  3. Unfortunately the challenge it deeper than just lack of capital. It’s how Australia as a country treats STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) industry vs FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) industry.

    Currently vast majority of the private debt are going into the FIRE industry. The general consensus of the Australian population is “why invest in STEM when I can invest in secondhand Sydney housing and get ~10%-20% return per year. I will probably lose money investing in those companies, but nothing will beat brick and mortar”. Australia doesn’t lake capital, it’s just that no capital wants to go to STEM.

    Also FIRE jobs currently get vastly more renumeration compared to STEM, and takes a lot less time to get qualified. Real estate agents, financial planners and mortgage brokers only require a diploma that takes several months to complete vs STEM which takes a few years.

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