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Transcript - 31844

Remarks at opening of Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre, Canberra

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 29/10/2014

Release Type: Remarks

Transcript ID: 31844


It is good to be here with my friend the Minister, my colleague Senator Seselja, the chief scientist, the CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council, Brian Schmidt, our Nobel laureate. It is very, very good to be here at the second Questacon campus.

As a younger parent I spent a fair bit of time at the other Questacon campus because my children loved being at Questacon and it is great to see that, as of now, there are more opportunities to visit Questacon and more opportunities to learn from Questacon.

Today is a big day for science in many ways and how better to start the day than by visiting this Questacon technology learning centre. Questacon has given literally millions – literally millions – of young Australians a taste of the world of science and technology. It is a national institution, a much loved national institution that has encouraged a yearning to learn the mysteries of the world.

Now, children by their nature are naturally curious; they ask questions, they test assumptions and, as every parent knows, they take risks and they question authority. These are the traits of future scientists.

So, it is a rite of passage for Australian children to visit Canberra. When children visit Canberra they visit the War Memorial and learn about the heavy price that our soldiers have paid for our freedom. When they visit Canberra they visit Parliament House and learn about our democracy and how they can be involved. Sometimes when they visit Canberra they go to the High Court and learn that we are a nation of laws. But it is imperative that when they visit Canberra, they should also come to Questacon and learn that science matters to our country and can be fun.

Science is vital to our future and we do need more scientists. So, to the children here today – mostly up the back there – I look forward to meeting you but I do make the obvious but important point that you are the hope of Australia. Among the children who visit this centre will be the scientists, the business leaders and indeed the Nobel Prize winners of the future. This centre will help to make all of that happen.

Now, the Government has announced recently a $12 million initiative to encourage science, technology, engineering and maths in schools, including a trial Pathways in Technology high school but Government alone cannot engender a scientific cast of mind. That is why I am so pleased and proud to be able today to applaud the Ian Potter Foundation and the $7.8 million donation that has made this centre possible.

Over 50 years, the foundation has distributed a truly astonishing $200 million in grants, each of them acts of magnificent generosity but as Leon Kempler has pointed out, carefully targeted generosity, not a cash splash but an investment in the future of our country.

Sir Ian Potter changed the face of philanthropy in this country and I thank the foundation for continuing his good work. Your generosity today is a statement of your faith in our future. Our children are our future and thanks to the Potter Foundation they will be just that much more encouraged to achieve all that they can.

So, I am honoured to be here and I am absolutely delighted to help declare this technology learning centre officially open.

Transcript - 31844