PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6464


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/09/1984

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 6464

E 0 E Proof Only.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Mr Brown has talked about the
lead your Government has given in financing sport, what does
it say about your Government's priorities, at the same time,
to effectively cut back on scientific research in the CSIRO?
PM: Well, unfortunately the premise of your question is wrong
because we haven't done that. We haven't matched the
expectations of some people at this stage. But let me make
the point that in respect of CSIRO in particular when you
take account of the rundown of capital works that were
being completed, there is still a significant increase
in funding. Let me make this fundamental point, which TI
really don't want to be intruding here, it's a question
that's more appropriate for later, but it's been raised,
I'll answer it. What I have been saying, and others have
been saying for some time that the basic problem in Australia
is not so much one of pure research because all conmentators
including Professor Slatyer, the Chairman of ASTEC, has said
we rate very well really with the rest of the world. Our
great problem has been in the area of applying research, and
in that area the Government has been extremely productive and
generous in the initiatives that it has taken and without
beinq exhaustive you know what we have done in regard to
management investment companies to allow very considerable
tax deductions for venture capital in that area. What we
have done to revamp the AIDC and what we have done in other
areas of fiscal policy which are relevant there, What we
have done in respect of the whole incentives to industry.
Those are the areas where Australia has ben lacking. And
in so far as the balance in Australia nas been concerned
the deficiency has been in the initiatives by Government
and the taking up by industry of the responsiaility to
apply the research that ha s beer undertaken here and elsewhere.
So I don't accept that there has been any perversion of
priorities. The refuatveisde ncteh at.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, could I follow up my question
on priorities. John Brown is hapy, Barry Jones is whinging.
Doesn't that say something about the Government's priorities.
Do you believe there are more votes in sport than science and
has that influenced your Government?
PM: The answer to the last question is no it hasn't. For
a long time, in public life, I have been saying that I thought
successive governments, and that criticism has been true of
both sides of politics, have not realised the importance of
sport. It's not to be seen simply as something through which
we get a vicarious thrill when our athletes do better than
anyone else in the world. Although, I must say in that respect,
that if the community does derive, as it manifestly did, as you
saw in the Olympics, satisfaction out of the achievement of
excellence, then it has always-seemed to me that there is
a responsibility in the community. If it derives that
vicarious satisfaction to accept some responsibility for
it. But as I say I have historically taken the view that
the politicians of both sides the fence haven't realised the
importance of sport. We live in a world in which leisure is
going to be more widespread, in which the pressures of the
working environment increase in a number of ways. So it is
important that as many people as possible have the opportunity
of participating, I believe, in sport. And it is the case that
Government should have a role, the sort of role that we have
developed, whereby we accept a certain financial responsibility
but also where we assume the role of catalyst which is going
to be done with the establishment of the Sports Aid Foundation.
So I would have thought that my long record of public
exposition on these matters shows that there is not some
question of electoral priority taking over as far as I
am concerned. There is also the consideration that, it
seems fairly obvious, that the more Australians, who are
more actively participating in sports, associated leisure
activities, the more likely you are to have a healthier
community. And in that respect, I would remind you that
the estimate per annum of the costs of industrial accidents
and illnesses is about $ 6 billion. That's the estimate.
Now, if you can get a healthier, more vibrant community
then it is likely that you are going to be saving in those
areas. So for all those reasons that I have put, I don't
believe that any government has any reason to apologise
for taking initiatives in these areas, which for too long,
have been neglected by governments of varying political
persuasions. Now, that's that part of the question, what
we're doing about sport. In regard to the area of technology
and research, you attempt to bring Mr Jones into it. Now
Mr Jones has said that he recognises the constraints that
apply but he also has made the point correctly that if you
are going to look at what the government has done in respect
of the areas of science and technology, it's just not a
question of looking at his direct budget allocations, lie
has made the point that I have made, that you have got to
look at what we have done in these other areas. I repeat
then what we have done in regard to management invcst-ent
companies. What we have done in regard to the AIDC. . h we have done in regard to the Commonw,, ealth Development Ban-..
And our whole approch in the fiscal area to make it casier
for the cash flow of comp. nijcs to be available to urnd\ c-'.::

PM cont: the sort of applied research that is necessary
if we are translate the existing fairly high levels of
research into effective, commercial and economic action.
So, I say that we have taken initiatives and give, i
priorities where they should be given in the area of
science and research. At the same time we have picked
up an area of government involvement which has for far
too long been too much neglected.

Transcript 6464