Greens make innovation key policy of election campaign


news The Australian Greens party has announced it will make innovation a key policy of their campaign in the upcoming Federal Election, aiming to “reverse the government’s anti-innovative and climate-destroying policies”.

Saying it is the only party to “back the disruptors, the change agents and those working towards a better world”, the party suggested its policies would create Australia “smarter, more innovative”, and help end its dependence on dated industries.

Setting out the detail of the plans (available here in PDF format), the Greens said it would create a new position for an Innovation Commissioner, who would work with industry, universities, business, government agencies and Innovation and Science Australia to “advance the innovation agenda”.

The Commissioner would also be responsible for bringing about a “comprehensive” innovation strategy, including a National Social Innovation Strategy.

“Without significant government policy and strategy the impact and value of Australia’s social enterprise sector will not realise its potential,” the Greens said.

The plans also include further investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools.

“By introducing children to STEM and entrepreneurial skills from the start of their schooling, and nurturing their understanding and engagement with these skills throughout their education, we can ensure greater numbers and gender balance in STEM,” the Greens said.

To that end, it pledged $678.9m over four years to increase STEM uptake in Australia’s schools and universities.

Supporting social innovation is also targeted for investment, a policy driven by the need for “novel and effective” solutions to social problems.

“Australia needs to do more to incentivise investment into companies that are established with the primary aim of increasing the public good in Australia by helping transition to a more equitable, more socially just and more environmentally sustainable economy,” the party said.

There are currently thought to be 20,000 social enterprises in Australia contributing 2-3% of GDP, according to the Greens.

To boost this figure, the Greens pledged to ensure that social entrepreneurs are eligible for grant funding through the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program.

The party would further amend the Corporations Act to create the category of ‘Benefit Corporation’, to include those companies that “consider the collective good, generate public benefit and generate profit”.

The Greens would additionally support other changes to the Corporations Act to increase investor caps for crowdfunding.

“The Government’s legislation proposed an arbitrary cap on investment that will make the raising of equity through crowdfunding particularly onerous for startups by creating unnecessary overheads and administrative burden,” the party stated.

Instead, the Greens would increase the investor caps for “mum and dad” investors, and increase the equity cap for eligible startups from $5m to $10m.

It would also allow investor aggregation – combining investments into a single vehicle – to ease the administrative burden and make crowdfunding a more attractive means of raising funds option for startups.

With government departments being some of the biggest consumers of technology in the country, the Greens also pledged to support local startups by procurement, not merely by investment in R&D.

Overseen by the Innovation Commissioner, it said, government procurement policies will be developed to ensure government spending takes into account the “wider social, economic and environmental benefits of purchasing through Australian startups and social enterprises”.

This would boost both the “productivity and profile” of the startup sector, and would “lead the way” for other big institutional buyers, it said.

Additionally, the Greens made the pledge to reverse the “massive cuts” made by the Abbott-Turnbull Government to innovation funding over its term.

Saying that $388.7 million has been “slashed” from the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program, the party pledged to reverse these cuts and give startups access to “crucial” early stage capital grants.

Access to early stage capital gives innovators and entrepreneurs reason to stay in Australia, it said, rather than “heading overseas in search of funding”.

Image credit: Victorian Greens, Creative Commons


  1. The greens are by far the most progressive party in this country. Australia would do well to give them a significant platform from which to influence government in a strong coalition role. I feel it is unlikely they would attain majority government when so many people vote based on unthinking tradition and loyalty, but I do hope they can win some key seats.

    • This is pretty much my opinion as well.

      The Greens are very respectable in a lot of areas. Yes they are taking Labor voters, and not Coalition voters. But that is something Labor will simply need to deal with going forward.

      The real problem is that there is no party currently Taking the middle leaning Coalition voters.

      If that were to occur, then the whole dynamic would change. The democrats imploding was the worst thing to happen to Australian politics.

  2. I wish the Greens could get more air time. They appear to be more progressive than some of the other parties. I guess once most of Ausralia gets over the existing Greens stigma of them being tree swinging hippies, then they may realise that these guys can be a valid third alternative to the two major parties.

    • It’s a catch 22 situation, the Greens arent able to get a big enough primary vote to win gov on their own so they are largely ignored by the MSM. Personally I’d be happy with a formal ALP-Green Coalition Gov – last time around the Greens did a good job of keeping the ALP on track imo.

      We’d need them to break up the Murdochracy tho because they where the number 1 reason ppl thought we had a “chaotic gov” when they were actually highly productive.

      PS, wouldnt it be great if they put up a referendum on ABC funding and independence locked into the constitution eg minimum of a certain level of funding tied to GDP and some mechanism to stop the LibTrolls from dragging it to the right by using funding as a weapon against it!

  3. Looks like people on HFC will be stuck with HFC and start crawling to ADSL speeds. That needs to be addressed first.

    However innovation hubs that are not sold off to Mirvac by the Liberals might help too that is also hooked up to fibre. Close enough to a data centre to run coms in the “cloud” might help too.

    Their innovation hubs of whatever is there right now are a joke. Not only do they offer crappy wifi instead of ethernet and who knows how secure the network is. But I believe it’s on faulty copper not fibre.

    WE do need to start building stuff considering we import everything and with a diving dollar under the current basket case of a government we pay more for everything.

    • Preferred level of the AUD to USD is $0.75 (both governments and RBA seem to agree). Our dollar at parity wasn’t because the AUD was anything special it was more the USD was vastly worse given the GFC issues the USA had.

  4. Under the greens we will revert to horse and buggy, back to the dark ages.

    Greens = no coal which means unreliable electricity and no steel.
    Greens = no oil which means no cars, planes, plastic etc.

    Reverse all of industrialisation and live in communes.

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