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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3161


Mr HODGMAN(12.35) —It is with great pleasure that I take part in this debate, albeit briefly. It has been an excellent debate. The Minister for Science and Technology (Mr Barry Jones) has been very properly commended for what he has done in the past and for what he has done since taking on the portfolio. Australia is doubly fortunate in that the excellent shadow Minister, the honourable member for Berowra (Dr Harry Edwards), has applied himself assiduously to his role. Whilst I am on the subject, I would like to say that the former Minister, the Hon. David Thomson, MC, did a lot to set in train what is now coming to reality.


Mr Barry Jones —I said that yesterday.


Mr HODGMAN —I appreciate that the Minister said that. It is great that on this vital and critical element which will affect the future of Australia we are seeing this great bipartisanship. I have only two minutes in which to speak, but I join the Minister and the shadow Minister in making a brief comment in relation to the Industries Assistance Commission report. The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Allan Morris), whose expertise in computers is well known to both sides of the House, asked the Minister on 3 November what effectively was the Government's reaction to the IAC draft report on computers, machine tools, robots, et cetera. The Minister replied in characteristic form:

I regard the three draft reports as extremely disappointing and rather lacking in intellectual vitality.

I agree with every word he said. With the greatest of respect to the majority of the IAC, I take the view that the Minister takes. The shadow Minister said very strongly that the IAC report is disappointing in that it does not give a very clear picture of what the industry is about or where it is going. The IAC report was criticised by both sides of the House. As an unashamed protectionist, as a humble lawyer fascinated by technology, and as one who wishes that he had done more science at school, I say that the message to the Hawke Government from both sides of the House is clear: Reject the IAC report and get up and go. Australia will be the greater if the Government is prepared, as the Minister has invited, to let the sleepers wake and the graspers grasp the nettle. Mr Deputy Speaker, I thank you for permitting me to make that short comment on a bipartisan basis, urging that the IAC report be rejected and that the Government get on with the job.