PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11626

Opening of Lucent Technologies Headquarters and Research Laboratories

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/11/2000

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 11626

Subjects: Bennelong Electorate; Information Technology; The Internet; Lucent Technologies; Bell Laboratories


Well thank you very much for that introduction, and can I say how very pleased I am that Lucent-Bell Laboratories has decided to make home well and truly in the place that has been my electoral home for almost 27 years. Because this part of Sydney has been continuously part of my electorate of Bennelong since I was first elected to it in May of 1974, and over that quarter of a centenary or more I have seen many aspects of the character of Bennelong changed, I have seen the continuity of a lot, but I have also seen particularly in this part of North Ryde, Mr Chairman, I have seen an emergence of so many examples of new technology, of new industries, of the information and communication technology era which is now so much part and parcel of our lives as Australians.

And the phenomenal success in such a sort period of time of Lucent and the optimistic way in which Mr Pike has spoken of your company's future is a source of tremendous encouragement, but more importantly a great example to other companies and a great example of what this country can achieve. It is also, might I say, an emphatic piece of evidence to support the remarks of many, including recently in a speech last night the Governor of the Reserve Bank refuting this rather odd and completely false proposition that in some way Australia is an old economy. To those who say it is an old economy I would invite them to come here to Lucent, to come to this marvellous opening, and look around and open your ears and just hear the story of what this company has achieved in such a sort period of time. I'd remind them of the extraordinary Internet penetration, second only to the United States, which has been Australia's experience, I would remind them that we have the second largest usage of e-commerce service of any country in the world. We have the third highest expenditure to GDP on Internet technology. We have penetration rates P.C usage by commerce, which are some 10% or 15% higher than the highest user of that technology in Europe, which is the United Kingdom. So by any measure this country is a world leader in the use and the adaptation of information and communication's technology.

It is true that we have very proud history of being an extremely efficient farm producer and we have an extremely sophisticated and successful, and normally very profitable, mining industry, and long may our expertise in those two industries continue. There is in fact, in my opinion, a totally false dichotomy between the so-called old economy and the new economy. The successful company, today whether they are in technology, whether they are in mining, or manufacturing, or the farming industry, or the service sector generally, the successful companies are those that are able to adapt to modern technology and use it to their advantages, no matter what their activity is. You can't be a successful miner now unless you have a highly sophisticated use of information and communication's technology. You can't be a successful manufacturer, you can't be a successful exporter, there has been no falser dichotomy promoted in recent times than the proposition that in some way there is a division between old industries and new industries.

Lucent, ladies and gentlemen, is investing $30 million in research and development in Australia. And this includes an amount of $25 million over 5 years on the wireless research program at Bell Laboratories here in North Ryde. And this investment is a sign of confidence in Australia's research capabilities. When I heard Mr Pike speak of the, not only the financial achievements of your company over only 19 months, but also the tremendous addition to your staff, and I know and I look around to see the array of people, many of them very young, people with great technical skills and all of you dedicated to your companies future. And as I know the management of the company respect and understand, no company is successful if it relies only on capital, it is only successful if it gets those right combinations of the intelligent use of capital and also the engagement and commitment of skilled and dedicated staff. And company after company in Australia, whatever its field of operation, is understanding and embracing that, but we practicing it and recognising that to be successful you have to engage and include and encourage and inspire your staff and make the staff of the joint collaborative effort.

Bell Laboratories has produced inventions that have helped to shape the modern world, such as the transistor, the communication satellite, the cellular mobile and optic fibre communication unix operating system. In other words all of you are part of a great technological and inventive heritage. The antecedents of your company and of your organisation has made a massive contribution to inventions over the last three-quarters of a century. And I am just so delighted that a company which is so much of the leading edge of information communications technology, it should have decided to make North Ryde here in the electorate of Bennelong it's home, and I do very warmly thank you for that. I congratulate all of you on the example that you represent of the new and modern and young and progressive face of the Australian economy. There will be many more like you but you'll be able to look back and recognise that in so many ways you have been the trailblazer. I thank you very warmly for the contribution that you've made already and I know that you will make in the future and I have very great pleasure in declaring Bell Laboratories well and truly open and I wish all of you well and great success.


Transcript 11626