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National Press Club -
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(generated from captions) Tomorrow that band of rain moving further into the south-east, very windy conditions tonight across Victoria. We already have a severe weather warning for parts of Gippsland. Also the central and north-eastern areas and also the south-western parts of Victoria. Those winds expected to pick up tonight and tomorrow.23
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Today, at the National Press Club, internationally acclaimed cancer researcher Professor Suzanne Cory. Suzanne Cory is the President of the Academy of Science and winner of the 2012 Eureka prize for leadership in science. She will speak on the big questions for her field and what Australia can do to thrive.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the National Press Club for today's National Australia Bank address. It's a great pleasure to welcome our guest Professor Suzanne Cory. As I'm sure many people will be aware, there was some considerable speculation that today's event might be over taken by a possible debate between the PM and the Opposition Leader. Well, we certainly do look forward to hosting a debate between the two leaders at some point in the future, near point in the future, hopefully, but I'm thankful to be able to say that on this occasion science has trumped politics. If, for no other reason, that the theme of today's abc.net.au/newses an issue that really does deserve to be considered, discussed, debated in the lead-up to this year's Federal election - that is, that by comparison to many other nations, our nation, Australia, is slipping behind in the knowledge stakes. Our guest today is an internationally renowned cancer researcher, as you heard, winner of the Eureka prize for leadership and science last year, and, of course, President of the Australian Academy of Science. Please welcome Professor Suzanne Cory. APPLAUSE
Thank you, Laurie and thank you very much for saying that science thruchls politics - trumps politics. I totally agree. Distinguished guest, friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I want to begin today by celebrating Australian science. we have a rich science and innovation heritage and it has improved our lives and driven new industries for Australia. Through science and technology we can find the solutions to the pressing problems that we face. through science, we can go to the unplumed depths of our oceans and out through our solar systems and beyond. Through science, we can make discoveries that change the course of humanity. science is not just preserve researchers, it is an important part of all our lives every day. As Peter Doroty recent wrote, and I paraphrase, science is everywhere - science isn't a niche topic, the kid on the computer is involving himself in science every time the laptop goes on. So is his mum, using an E-tag to travel home from work on the freeway. Probably every single thing you've done this morning depended on science. the alarm clock, or the smartphone that woke you, the appliances that you used to make your breakfast, the shape of your toothbrush and the conty con city consitution of - constitution of your tooth paste. The conditioned air that you are breathing right now and your ability to watch this speech in your home or your office - anywhere on the planet.
Science is such an integral part of our daily lives now that we hardly give it a second thought. And it's in grave danger of being taken for granted. We are rightly proud that Australians produce world-changing science across the nation. today, in Queensland, scientists are turning waste from meat industry into electricity. And in NSW, they are using hydrogen atoms to hugely increase the efficiency of solar panels and greatly reduce the cost, an advance that is ten years ahead of expectation. In Victoria, they are working on the bionic eye to bring sight to thousands of people with severely impaired vision. In Western Australian, they are developing grazing systems that will reduce methane emissions and deliver medication to farm animal s. In Australia, science advertises are using sensors that harness light at the nano level to instantly analyse blood at crime scenes. In Tasmania, they are working on a vaccine for the facial tumour disease that has driven the Tasmania delves to the brink of extinction. In the northern Territory, they are using ants as an indicator of ecological change to better manage the environment and to rehabilitate former mine sites. Here, in the ACT, they are using the common blow fly to develop anti dote for chemical warfare agents. Our scientists are indeed remarkable adventurers and pioneers.
They are also heavy-hitters by international standards. If you measure performance by just looking at the number of articles published in peer review journals, a kind of shorthand for how much of the world's new knowledge we are producing, then Australian scientists are doing very well indeed. We Australians represent just one-third of 1% of the world's population. But our scientists produce more than 3% of the world's published scientific articles. in fact, last we are we ranked 11th in the world with more than 59,000 publications.and our research doesn't just stay in our universities and libraries - it has given us significant economic, social and environmental benefits. Our core operative research centres, for example, give us a net economic profit of $278 million per year and in 2010, and I find this an amazing statisticsing , our health, medical and veterinary sector, now our largest manufacturing sector, produced 3.6 billion dollars worth of exports.
Some research programs, such as the solar cell work that I mentioned just before, have immediate practical application, but others, although they have an intended outcome, take much longer to get there. Cancer research, my own field, is a good example. We know have intelligent drugs for some cancers. These drugs specifically target the critical molecular cause of those cancers and therefore they can kill the cancer cells without critically damaging normal cells. That's a great place to be, but it's taken over 30 years of fundamental research to get to this point. again, some basic or discovery research has no immediately apparent application. Is this wasted effort? I would strongly argue no. If it's been performed well, and if it is advanced knowledge. This blue sky research, as it is often called, is our future resilience capacity - our defence reserve, if you will. let me give you an analogy. Australia doesn't have a Defence Force because we want to wage war. We have a Defence Force in case of war, so that we are ready and able to fight. in the same way, discovery research builds resilience. It prepares us for the problems we don't yet have or don't yet know that we have. It builds our readiness for an unknown future. here is an example. In 1955, when scientists in Antarctica began monitoring the stratosfhere, this was blue sky research. They had no inkling of the future global impact of their work, but in the late 70s, a hole began forming in the ozone layer above Antarctica and the accumulated years of stratosfhere data that had been gathered eventually led in 1997 to nations signing up to the Montreal protocol and ceasing production of ozone depleting compounds. If it had not been for the original why is it so research, we would not have known the problem even existed, let alone what was causing it or how to again to address it. Yes, Australia performs well in science, but at this point in time we find ourselves at a cross-roads. Will we be able to maintain this impressive trajectory? Will we be able to harness our scientific skills and talent to build future prosperity for this country? nine months ago I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother for the first time. And since then, I find myself reflecting more and more about what the future holds for my granddaughter, Nyra. the decades in which my own children grew up were blessed with peace and prosperity but I cannot be sure that will continue for the children growing up now. Or for their children. because our nation is facing alarming social economic and environmental challenges. Our marine atmospheric environments are changing and degrading, and we are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. Our food and water security is not assured and neither is our biosecurity and cyber security. our growing girths are provoking a raft of obesity associated chronic diseases. Our population is increasingly affected by dementia as average longevity increases. Our workforce faces growing skills shortage s. Our traditional manufacturing sectors are crumbling and we have not yet adequately replaced them with innovative new industries. Our production of clean energy is lagging. where does Australia want to be in 20, 40 or 50 years? Do we want to be struggling to maintain food security? Do we want an increasingly burdened health system, trying to cope with the demands of a population stuck in a spiral of physical decline? Do we want to fall victim to the new pandemics arising from a highly connected world? Or do we want to be a robust and resilient nation that enjoys good health, a strong economy, abundant fresh food and has the strength to withstand the occasional shock brought on by disease or disaster?
The challenges I have mentioned comprise a daunting list for the nation. it's also a daunting list for science. But science provides our best hope for preventing or overcoming these problems. Governments around the world have recognised that science delivers solutions. They've also recognised that many of the challenges facing individual nations are in fact global. tellingly, the G 8 science Ministers have called for, and I quote, "Coordination of global scientific research to address global challenges and maximize the social and economic benefits of research." Governments around the have also recognised that science drives economic prosperity. In the UK, an enormous 63% of productivity growth over the past decade has come either directly or indirectly from scientific innovation, while the US has estimated that it has produced about 50% - that is has produced about 50% of all their economic growth in the last 50 years.
Just to give you an example - since 1990, Gnome science, the study of DNA, has had a 965 billion dollar impact on the US economy. , leveraging a whopping $65 return for every $1 invested there. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because this field continues to transform not only research, but many different fields of activity - pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, energy, agriculture and many other fields.
Earlier this year, President Obama noted - and I quote - "what we produce here ends up having benefits worldwide. We should be reaching for a level of private and public research and development investment that we haven't seen since the height of the space race." Accordingly, Barrack Obama plans to double the US science and innovation budget over the next five years. in the UK, we heard just last week that the Government has protected its research and development and increased its spending on research infrastructure. This, at a time when they are having to achieve a massive $11.5 billion - pound cuts to balance the UK budget. Science is one of only three areas where spending has been protected. That's a big message for Australia.
What are we doing? Our Government is certainly well aware that high quality research and development drives innovation and increases resilience, productivity and competitiveness. And the strategic research priorities released from the chief scientist office just last week or a couple of weeks ago provides a roadmap for prioritising its research investment to meet the challenges that lie before us. But are reinvesting enough to safe guard our future? Frankly, no. Despite the positive rhetoric, Australia is not investing nearly enough in research and development.
Today Australia spends a total of about 2.2% of its GDP on R & D - about $900 per person every year. By comparison, both the US and Sweden spend about $1300 per person per year. we are only 13th amongst OECD member countries, significantly below the OECD average and behind Israel, Finland, Korea, Sweden and Japan.
In the decade from 2003 to 2013, under the leadership of both Labor and the Coalition, our total Federal expenditure on R & D increased by about 58% - that was a great achievement.
But recently we have gone backwards. With a $335 million fall in Commonwealth investment last year, and a further $291 million cuts this year. this is not only a disappointing reversal in trend, it's dangerous. If we wish to remain innovative and competitive we need to bring this nation up to speed. We need to increase our investment in R&D. although our resource-strong economy weathered the Global Financial Crisis better than most other countries, the slow-down in Australia's productivity growth in the past decade has been greater than the average slow-down in the OECD. the days of ready extraction of mineral resources to drive our economic growth are predicted to decline. And our traditional manufacturing industries are contracting fast. Growth will need to come from other areas of economy. As the Productivity Commission has stated, further productivity improvement is now in the more difficult terrain of improving human capital and innovation. the White Paper, Australia and the Asian Century, identifies Asia as a growing global centre of eninnovation with strong investments there in skills, infrastructure and science. So competition from the region is likely to intensify. Although, at the same time, this presents enormous opportunity, including opening up new markets for innovative products and services. Australia simply cannot afford to assume that it has an advantage over the Asian economies in higher value-added activities. As the White Paper states, Australia's prosperity will come from ongoing reform and investment across five pillars of productivity - skills and education, in innovation, infrastructure, tax reform and regulatory reform.
Certainly the Government understands all of this, and has begun investments that will improve our productivity here. I think I would mention there that the school education reforms recommended in the Gonski report and the rollout of the National Broadband Network - we certainly hope also that the recommendations of the McKeean review on medical health and research will be implemented. So I have said that the White Paper names innovation as one pillar of productivity. I would put it even more strongly than that. For a stable resilient and healthy Australian future, the creation and use of new knowledge is not one of merely a range of choices, it is the essential foundation. yet our politicians do not give our scientists the consistent and reliable research support that's required for success and cost effectiveness. imagine if you decide to build a house. You go to the bank and you borrow enough money to buy 1,000 bricks and you go and lay them. then you have to go back to the bank to ask for another loan to buy another 1,000 bricks. having laid them, you once more have to stop building and spend some time convincing the bank to lend you enough for the next 1,000 bricks, but they only lend you 600. With so much uncertainty, how can you possibly plan? Of course, you'd never try to build a house this way because the house would either never get built or it would turn out to be a rambling and shambolick patchwork. So, when we build a house, we make a decision to build the whole house. We get a loan to purchase all of the materials and labour and we build it steadily from start to finish. it seems so obvious, yet the brick-by-brick approach is what we do with research in this country. Every year researchers and employers have to go cap in hand to convince the Government of the day to maintain funding for the Australia research council or the national medical health council and all the other agencies. we do this with research infrastructure, too. We have this incredible $200 million machine in Melbourne, the Australian syncatron.
It is used in many different types of research from microbiology to agriculture, from nano materials to forensics. It's one of the world's best machines and scientists come from many nations to use it. But since it opened in 2007, it's been a constant scramble to claw enough funds for its operation. Furthermore, only nine beam lines have been built, despite there being total capacity for 38. I'd like to quote a second noble lawyer rat lauriate - it's as if Australia bought a $200 million car and drives it only around the block because it's too expensive to put on the road. I'm very troubled by the long-term consequences of recent cuts to our research funding and the looming potential that other programs may not be renewed or replaced. In the recent budge, the research sector breathed a collective sigh of relief when rumoured cuts did not event ate. That took a lot of work behind the scenes. Instead, there was welcomed news of a further $253 million investment in key research facilities such as ANSTOW, and CSIRO, as well as in the national collaborative research infrastructure scheme. but I have to be frank - these are short-term measures, a handful of bricks. They do not provide confidence for the future. For either the research community or for the country.
Measured against the actual need for , what has been provided - an average of $93 million for two years - is merely a stop gap. What's really needed to get the best value out of our infrastructure is an investment of $200 million per year for at least ten years. The Opposition's commitment to at least protect the N H&M RC's funding over the forward estimates, is heart ning. We call on the Government to match this leadership. But we also call on both parties to do more, not only in health and medical research, but across the entire research spectrum. A unique event took place a couple of weeks ago in the Australian research community. When more than ten peak bodies across the sector, including the Australian Academy of Science, joined together for the first time in an alliance. The purpose? To call on Federal politicians of all persuasions to support a strategic approach to research investment, an investment that transcends both the election cycle and party politics. We did this because we can see that inaction will have drastic consequences. let me give you just one example. there are only a handful of places in the world where high-level as tron middle can be done and Australia is one of them - astronomy. Brooin Smith warned that the stop start approach will lead to the death of optical astronomy within two years unless there is a drastic change to funding policy. Brian Smidt does not issue idle threats and not an easy man to I go more I go for. If we are not careful, we are going to lose these men and the future noble luariates. Bright kids won't want to stick around - if they see the nation paying mere lip-service to the work they are doing and want to do. They'll go elsewhere, to nations where, despite far more difficult economic circumstances, leaders there recognise that investment in science is fundamental to their ongoing prosperity and well-being.
Rather than lose our best and brightest to other nations, would it not make more sense to provide challenging and stable careers for them here in Australia? to encourage them, support them and nuture their talent here, to provide them with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies so discoveries can take place here? So that the industries arising from these discovery s are developed here rather than overseas?
I know there are challenges ahead for the Australian economy and I don't pretend to have all the solutions. But I do know that spending on science is invest ing in our future. The future well-being of our children and our grandchildren, the future resilience and future productivity of our nation. Now is the time for action and not just words. Remember, the Australian economy has not experienced a recession for 22 years. We can afford to plan and to invest. let me turn now to education. the Asian Century White Paper has set for a national objective that Australia's GDP per person will be in the world's top ten by 2025 - up from 13th in 2011. And it names skills and education as our greatest responsibility. the Australian Government has spoken strongly about supporting our education system. Last year, the former PM Gill ard said, "Our 2025 goal is that our school system is in the top five in the world and ten of our universities are in the world's top 100." This is an aspiration that the Academy of Science certainly supports, and I call on the Opposition also to adopt this goal.
Yet, I'm deeply concerned. I'm concerned about the disconnect between the Government's rhetoric and its recent actions. in response to the Gonski review, the Government announced a much needed injection of $9.8 billion into school education over the next six years, provided the states also come on board. the akad any applauds - the academy applauds the intent and I urge the State and Federal governments to come to an agreement about this. but I'm truly dismayed that it is to be directly funded through a mammoth $3.8 billion cut and referrals to research and higher education over the next four years. We know that high-quality world-class education does not end at the age of 18. in the light of these proposed cuts, the aspiration to have ten universities in the world's top 100 seems, at best, unlikely.
Science technology, engineering and maths skills are crucial in our changing world. 75% of the fastest growing occupations require stem skills and knowledge, and employment in stem-related occupations is projected to grow at almost twice the pace of other occupations.
But Australia has not adequately invested in high-quality stem education and the consequences are showing.
We have a workforce with a sagging skill base and employers are reporting significant difficulty in recruiting people for occupations with stem skills. Listen to Innis Wilcox, the Chief Executive of the Australian city group, and I quote, "The decline is holding back our national economy and causing real frustration for employers". The Australian council of learned academies, which our academy is a member of, recently published a review of stem education in countries around the world and it concluded, and I quote, "Most nations are closely foe focused on advancing stem and some have evolved dynamic, I potent and productive strategies. In world terms, Australia is possessed not far below the top group, but it lacks the national urgency that's found in the US, east Asia and much of western Europe, and runs the risk of being left behind." Unquote. with support from current and previous Governments, are the scien academies are working hard to turn the tide by developing school science educations that are inquiry-based, and hands on. The academy of technological sciences and engineers has developed stella, a program for year 9 and 10 students on the themes of global warming and renewable energy. And our academy has developed primary connections for primary schools and science by doing for secondary schools. I'm really proud to say that primary connections is now being used in over 50% of all Australian prickry schools - primary schools, and that science by doing will soon launch its free, interactive online curriculum resources. I had a go at them recently and I can report they are lots of fun. More importantly, the trials that we have done in schools demonstrate that secondary students and teachers will love them.
It is not just the skill capability of the Australian workforce that sags when we fail to invest properly in quality science and maths education - the critical thinking skills of the whole population also suffers. without a scientifically literal society, how can Government create sensible, long-term health climate energy or water policy? How do we have the kinds of debates and public discussions that are becoming increasingly crucial to the big decisions that we face? you just have to look at what's been happening in our sports organisations to see a telling example of the consequences of lack of science literacy in the general community. you all know that the Australian Crime Commission has found that there was widespread substance abuse in sport. I think this is troubling on many fronts. allegedly people who were not medical practitioners were injecting players with all sorts of things. not only were many banned from use in sport, but many were not approved for human consumption in any circumstances. and they came from dubious sources. think about what this means. Setting aside the I legality and cheating issue, it means that our athletes are using substances of unknown benefit with unknown side effects. A scientifically literate sports person or club would not agree to such quakry, let alone pay for it. In summary, I have said today that Australia must invest more in research and development. to protect our economic competitiveness, our social well-being and our quality of life. to build our resilience, and to protect our future productivity. I've also said that we must invest in high-quality stem education that would produce and sustain internationally competitive scientists and engineers. A broadly skilled workforce and a scientifically literate community. You may well ask why should science and education enjoy greater guarantees than other sectors at times of fiscal challenge? in response, I would make three points - it's simply a fact that quality science and education takes years to plan and build. secondly, it's the Federal Government's responsibility to plan and invest for the longer term and that means beyond a single election cycle. and, thirdly, and most importantly, the cost of not making strategic investment is to commit us to devolution, to commit us to going backwards. I'm not the Minister for science, but what would I do if I were? I would convince the PM that the Minister for science should always be a senior Cabinet appointment, and I'm pleased to note that Minister Carr is part of the Rudd cabinet. I would argue passionately in Parliament and in public that strategic support for research and education is central to any rational vision for Australia's future. I would argue that Australia must increase its R & D investment to at least the level of our. EOCD and Asian counterparts and competitors, rising over the next five years from the current level of 2.2% of GDP to 3%, with incentive s to atrack paf of this increase from industry, State Governments, fi lan throw pi and international investors. I would establish a new program to enable strategic global science engagement - threefs $25 million a year. To facilitate collaboration between researcher, innovators and industrial teams.
The Opposition has already said there needs to be a recommitment to international science funding and I applaud their policy and call upon the Government to match it. Why is this so important, you might ask? Well, in fact, 97% of the world's knowledge is generated overseas. We need to assist our scientists to gain timely access to this knowledge and also to the infrastructure overseas.
If I were science Minister, I would work hard with the Education Minister to ensure that Australia invests in quality science and maths education at all levels, from kindergarten right through to post-gradual add university level, in order to improve science literacy and build our future skilled workforce. And I would continue to educate our adult population in science, through initiatives like inspiring Australia and by strengthening science in broadcasting and in the media.
And certainly with more than 2 million downloads the popularity of our academy's questions and answers series on climate change and immunisation says there is a real thirst out there for more knowledge about science issues.
I'm not the Minister for science, and I cannot make these decisions. But as President of the Australian Academy of Science, I can call upon our political leaders to embed science and stem education in their election promises, to make science fundamental to the national agenda, and to work across the political divide to implement the change. To the question of how can we afford to increase investment when the budget is in deficit? I respond - how can we afford not to? Tough economic times demand well-informed choices and leadership.
Leadership that provides a vision and a plan for the future. I propose a deal. If the next Australian Government embraces reform with the goal to properly fund Australian science education, now and into the future, the Australian academy of science will be loud and proud in backing those reforms. such reforms take time and strategic management. our neighbours in Asia fund R & D through successive five and ten-year plans. We need to do the same. We need to plan to fund the national research investment plan for the next ten years and to undertake the change necessary to pay for it. a ten-year time scale gives certainty, enabling our scientists to achieve their full potential, A&Eibling infrastructure like the syncraton to be used, ensuring that the knowledge bank is stocked to the brim. I challenge the Government, the alternative Government, and cross-bench parliamentarians to development strategic plans for science and education for Australia, and I challenge them to articulate their science and education policies before we are called upon to vote.
That's the Australian amad vision tore Australia, an Australia that can evolved and advance, rather than slide backwards - a strong, productive resilient Australia.
Thank you. APPLAUSE
and advance, rather than slide backwards - a strong, productive resilient Australia.
Thank you. APPLAUSE
ClearLet me ask you the first question. Why is it, do you think, that as a nation we have had - we have developed a very strong science culture producing the amount of research that we have, the number of noble prize winners that we have, yet we have failed to produce a political culture that seems to support that to a certain extent. It's not as if there are not champions in the political system before you - there is no doubt about that. But, having said that, why is it that the two don't really match, if you like, don't gel. Is it simply the electoral cycle, is it short-termism, she'll be right, mate, what is it? You said I think, or one of the comments made prior to this addressed to, was that as a nation we are coasting. resting on our laurels, I guess. I think that's true. I think I said at the beginning we are in danger of taking science for granted. I would add that we are in danger of taking our scientists for granted. We think that they can do it, they can be as competitive as this internationally, because they've done it in the past and that we don't need to look after them for the future. But the competition's increasing. You can see it all around you in Korea, Japan, in Singapore, and China, of course, in space. if we don't continue moving forward, we will inevitably fall backwards and we will not be competitive. At the moment, I think we have a great opportunity because we are highly respected in science around the world, including with our Asian neighbours, and that provides us with the opportunity to collaborate with them, to help solve these major international problems that require science to solve them. if we are strong here, if we remain strong here, we can grasp that hand and go forward together. but if we let our investment lapse, if we degrade our science and our capability, we will not get that opportunity and weep will not get it - we'll not get it again in the future. This is a closing window in time.Simon Gross, from science media, Professor. My question is about education. Since Senator Carr was reborn as a Cabinet Minister on Monday, he's been making - sending signals about reversing the open-ended - the Government's open-ended approach to funding under graduate places. This seems to beun setting some of the smaller universities, particularly. I wonder what's the academy's view on the Government's role in regulating under-graduate places and if you do see the Government has having a role, how would it best be done?Simon, I don't think the academy can comment on that. I think that's for the universities to comment. What I would say is that quality education for as many people in our population that we can give it to, is critical for the future of this country. So I think that investing in quality education is absolutely critical to our future.
How that should be done by Government and how it should be funded, I don't think it's my place to answer that question.
John mill lard. Millard, freelance. Professor Cory, the scientific literature about molecular genetics is not something that finds its way into the popular media every day. But a notable exception recently has been the expression of the genes affecting ageing and the implication s that it has for diseases of ageing like Alzheimers, type 2 diabetes. To vastly simplify the situation, genes are frequently regulated by proteins in the nuclear nucleus and then affected by enzymes which can be activated by such things as -...A science lesson, go on. Such things as exercise, and what have you. Most con tro verk - con tro verbally - substances found in red wine and so forth.
A lot of this research is controversial, but what's your view without having a scientific crystal ball, about where this research might going, and could we be the last generation which is active into the 70s and 80s and future generations might go into their 90s and 100s?II think it is certainly clear, speaking as someone in their early 70s, this generation is definitely active in their 70s and 80s and I think we can see this will continue to improve, and this is all due to research in health and medical research. So I think we can look forward to an increasingly active older population. On the other hand, that's counterbalanced by increasing number of people who have severe health problems as they age. So I would say we need to keep investing in research, so that we can keep people happy, healthy, and contributing strongly to society, until they drop. That's certainly what I would like to do.Professor, it's the - well, for those of us of a certain age it's not that long ago that Barry Jones was charting the science community for not getting out there and profitising. What you are proposing today, a ten-year forward budgeting plan is way beyond the expectations of the Treasurer and most of our politicians when they talk about forward estimates, they are talking four years. how actively do you really think the science community is pushing for that sort of change?
Very active actively. I think you will see that research alliance is a major step forward in taking that message forward to our politicians. At I have said today, science and education are long-term investments and we must have a long-term political view about that. the only way we can do that and not be ham strung by the political cycle is to have agreement across politics. These are big issues. They are big issues for the nation. They do not have to be issues on which our political parties fight. Vice President of the National Press Club. Thank you for that insightful addressed to. Just picking up that point about how you get from this call today to a point in the future where you see that vision realised, of having a ten-year funding commitment - how do you propose to go about transforming the often combative nature of politics into one where people across the political spectrum can come to a point of agreement about that idea of a long-term funding plan for this? Do you have other examples in other policy areas that you think can usefully be invoked here, or are you talking about a new kind of mode of politics that you are hoping to engender? I think that wise Governments can plan, forward-plan that far, just like businesses have to. Why can't Governments do this? I think we have a very strong strategic weapon in place, in the chief scientist, and his office. I think that the plans that are being developed there are a very wise - are very wise and other countries are doing it. Just this morning, NZ, which is not nearly such a robust country as Australia economically, is put forward a national research investment plan very similar to the one that Ian Chubb recently announced. We have to do it. Of I think that in their heart of hearts politicians recognise the need for bipartisan support for these policies, for the sake of the future of the country.
A question from Peter Phillips. Thank you very much, Professor Cory, for your address and particularly for your catalogue of undertakings that you will attack when you are Minister for science, but I wonder whether that catalogue isn't missing still one key element, as inspiring as it is, and that is the role which perhaps is incumbent on science itself to popularise itself more - recognising that the annual budgetary dollar or the budgetary cycle dollar is always a subject of intense competition and focus by a lot of well-motivated and even less well-motivated people and organisations seeking their lick and anybody else's lick of what's there to get. Isn't there more that science can do and that science probably should do to popularise itself and to make itself more the subject of attention for those who are responsible for the hold on the bag with the doe in it. I'm not suggesting that the chief scientist should be out whacking his pommy ounterpart in a bar at 2 o'clock in the morning or that a scientist should win a stage in the Tour de France and have the yellow jersey on for a day, but something for to popularise science and to add to your catalogue?I think that your point is well taken. Scientists do have a responsibility to explain what they do to the taxpayer, and why it's important that they are doing it. That's one of the reasons I'm here today. I do think there has been a transformation in the science community about this. Every PhD stew dent these days is trained,... in the CV, they have to put down their record in service, in communicating science, so we are getting better at it.
We need to improve more, but I think as I mentioned it is also very important that we have the professionals alongside us, that we have a strong science presence in our media.
Tony Melville, we have beauty and the geek, that popularises one part of science. My question is about...We had one of our students in that. He was so horrified, he had to withdraw. My question is about the commercialisation of science. You talked about 59,000 publications but if you ask the average Australian what big commercial surk - success, the bionic ear, then struggle, maybe wifi if they have been reading the press a bit. even that, I think, was a bit of an accident in the end that we actually managed to convince ourselves to get some money out of it. It wasn't an accident, it was a strategy. Or a strategy down the track. But we didn't commercialise it ourselves from the outset. That's what the question is. What can we do, as science Minister, what can you do to get more commercial successes out of organisations and better linked with the industryI think you are quite right, Australia needs to be better as capitalising on its discoveries, but we are working hard at that and I can see, again, a big change in outcomes in the last, say, 15 years - we have increased attention on this from the science community. A lot more attention to protection of intellectual property, a lot more attempts to form startup companies. I think in medical research, you can see the success now. I mean, look at that success in export of medical technologies to the rest of the world. So it's a long road that we have to walk, but we are getting there and I think we can do better. Another question from Simon Gross.Simon gross, science media. I'd like to ask you a question in your role as a senior medical researcher. just asking you to reflect on the US Supreme Court's recent decision about the patenting of genetic material, is this going to cause a sea change in the way researchers and industry look at intellectual property in this sphere, or is the technology moving on?I think that protection of IP has become much more sophisticated than it was at the beginning of the DNA revolution. its current practice, not to patent until you have got use, so I think that it is becoming very rare that one would even consider protecting a new gene function that one had discovered until one had reached the stage where one was protecting instead a use from that discovery. so it's a difficult and complex area, but I would say that it's clear to me from a lifetime's work in medical research that we would not have the medicines that we have today that are making such a difference if there had not been protection of intellectual property. It costs so much to go from a basic discovery to a drug that is actually working in hospital s, that there needs to be some reward to the companies to take that risk.
So IP protection is important for outcomes, but I think it's a lot more sophisticated these days than it was in the past.
Closed Captions by CSI.
Tonight, Terrence Malick ponders
the meaning of love and loss in To The Wonder. Alex Gibney spills the beans
on Julian Assange in the documentary We Steal Secrets:
The Story Of Wikileaks. And Steve Coogan portrays
British porn baron Paul Raymond in the biopic The Look Of Love. Good evening.
Hello. Also tonight, a brotherhood of
bruised male egos requires massaging in A Gun In Each Hand. And we revisit Michelangelo
Antonioni's 1959 drama L'Avventura. David, start us off with Michael
Winterbottom's The Look Of Love. Well, it's a biopic of London's
King of Sleaze - and Britain's richest man in the
'60s and '70s, Paul Raymond, played by Steve Coogan. Raymond discovered in the late '50s
that the archaic rules that allowed nude women on the London
stage provided they didn't move could be circumvented, and soon he was making a fortune
from his clubs and theatres, and from his extensive
property dealings. His first wife, Jean, Anna Friel, left him when,
after numerous affairs, he became seriously involved with
Amber St George, Tamsin Egerton, who later, as Fiona Richmond, became
a sex celebrity in her own right.
But his real love was for his
daughter, Debbie, Imogen Poots. Let's have some caffeine,
first of all. And... And then let's go
and have some champagne. Go to Lepoco for dinner,
and we'll go out to a club and have lots and lots and lots
of fun. Just what the doctor ordered.
Did you hear that, Chris? I'm afraid it's going to be
a late one tonight. Good. I've been missing them.
It's just beautiful at night-time. Everything looks beautiful
at night-time.No, this. (Chuckles)
This is beautiful! Henry VIII used to use this area
as his hunting ground and 'So, ho!' was his battle cry.
So, ho! So, ho! You know.
So, ho! SO, HO!
Are you embarrassed? SO, HO! (Wolf-whistling)
I own all of you! (Chuckles) Actually, the Queen owns
the people, darling.No! So, ho!
Winterbottom is a prolific, eclectic
and generally talented filmmaker, and The Look Of Love is, on the
surface, a very well made film that evokes the period
of the Swinging Sixties with skill and insight. Paul Raymond's world of sex and drugs
and promiscuity is explored in
a pretty straightforward way, and it might have been interesting to get a slightly different take
on the material, because it's really a bit of a cliche to depict the selfish
and self-serving purveyor of sex as, at heart, a troubled,
unfulfilled man. That said, Coogan is extremely
convincing in the role, and the women are first class. I also liked David Walliams
as the fun-loving reverend who, dog collar and all, spends so much time backstage
with the topless showgirls. Did you like him, Margaret?
(Laughs) What a characters!
Yes, I know! Look, you know, I'm a fan
of Winterbottom. I think he's another really
interesting filmmaker, and, you know, he doesn't make
the same thing twice. He's obviously got something going
with Steve Coogan, because I don't know how many films
they made together. This is the fourth of fifth.
24 Hour Part People, The Trip... Uh... And I think Coogan and he
work very well together. I think Coogan's very good in this. I agree with you - the approach
has been fairly prosaic, in a way, and you sort of almost expect more
And I... I mean, you know, this
story of a man who sort of cannot... Who owns the store and can't resist
sampling the goodies - All the goodies!
..all the goodies, all the time,
you know, is a bit tragic. But it's... I mean, he has
a good time most of the time. And it's sort of like
this compulsion finally gets the better of him. That's the funny thing
about the film. On one hand you see this guy having
a wonderful time with these women and so and so on, but also
it's a cautionary tale. So there's kind of, you know...
It's pulling you in both directions, wanting a bit of each way, I guess.
What are you giving it?
I think three and a half.
I'm giving it three.
We will persuade readers
that by buying Men Only they are buying into the world
of Paul Raymond, right, the world cigars and... exotic
holidays, and luxury cars. This will take the world of
Paul Raymond out to the nation. There will be lots of girls, beautiful girls
beautifully photographed. We copy the car magazines, right. We have, as the face
of our magazine, we have a hot female columnist and
she road tests the men of Europe. I have a contact at John Menzies. Menzies have 5,000 newsagents,
that's their own newsagents. Their distribution arm
covers another 20,000. I-I-It's a perfect, perfect market
Well, if you can edit
as well as you talk...(Scoffs) ..then, uh, I'm very interested. Oh, it's so '60s and '70s, isn't it? The Look Of Love is currently
screening in limited release around the country. Alex Gibney would have to be the most prolific
documentary filmmaker ever. The amount of research in his films
is extraordinary, the editing process
must be mind-boggling. Soon after Mea Maxima Culpa:
Silence In The House Of God comes We Steal Secrets:
The Story Of Wikileaks. Much of the story we already know. The beginnings of Wikileaks
in Melbourne under Julian Assange, his exposure of the banks'
vulnerability in Iceland, along with other significant issues. But it was his denouement of classified military material
in Iraq and Afghanistan that started to threaten
very powerful forces in the world, involving a US military computer
geek, Bradley Manning, in the mix.
The Army has detained a US soldier in connection with the leak
of this classified video. Two of the men killed
worked for the Reuters news agency. Journalists' cameras were mistaken
for weapons. The prime suspect is 22 year-old
Bradley Manning. There is a responsibility
to the needs of the man. We promised the source
that we would publish everything. About one o'clock in the morning,
I took delivery on a USB stick of 390,000 secret
US military records. With Assange now incarcerated
voluntarily in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, avoiding extradition to Sweden
on matters sexual, the film is revealing in its
critique of Assange, his carelessness,his double
standards and his narcissism. For a forensic dissection
of the history of Wikileaks and all the complicated issues that
have evolved from its revelations, this is a must-see documentary. Much of the material is familiar, even its implied criticism
of Assange is not something we're not aware of. But it perhaps pinpoints
the flaws in Assange that led to this erstwhile
heroic effort at making private and damaging
knowledge public to its demise. Key to the film
is the fate of Bradley Manning, currently being tried
in the United States for leaking classified information. It's a dense documentary, perhaps not as concise
as it could have been, but it certainly delineates
contemporary history in a compelling way. But it's no surprise that Assange
is no fan of Gibney. No surprise at all, because it's
fairly critical of Assange.Yes. I think Bradley Manning comes out of
this as a sort of flawed hero, if anybody does. Look, I found it maybe not quite as
fascinating as I thought I would, because really there was nothing
that I didn't really know here. I mean, the good thing about it
is you see it laid out in a very clear, linear sort of way.
Yeah. Actually, I think it's a really
significant document....Exactly. ..of these events.
It puts everything together, all the bits and pieces,
it dovetails them all very well. So I think from that point of view
it's very effective and, you could argue, important. But I just felt that I...
There was nothing there that I didn't really know already,
and that was the only thing. Whereas some of Gibney's
other documentaries have been a bit more revelatory
than this one was. Yeah, although I mean I must say
that it was interesting. you know, there's an Australian
journalist in the film that was an erstwhile colleague
of ours, and the material
that he brings to the film is actually very interesting.
I was totally unaware of that. So, look, I'm giving this four
stars. I think it's important. I'm giving it three and a half. He woke up late, of course. I'm knocking on the door,
'Julian, come on, then.' He gets up, does his normal thing,
What's the time? What's the time?
Twenty-five-to. I need to prepare
a little list of things.
Tired. Haven't been to sleep,
but... good. 14 pages in The Guardian
this morning. 'Massive leak of secret files
exposes true Afghan war.' We tell our sources
'maximum political impact,' and I think we got pretty close. There's ten trucks out there -
ten media trucks.Yeah.
So it'll be a good outcome.
He walked out that door
as the sort of ageing student hobo. By the time, you know,
he'd made this 50 yard walk, he was a rock star. He was one of the most famous guys
on the planet.
We Steal Secrets:
The Story Of Wikileaks opens in limited national release
this week. Our next film is To The Wonder. An American man, named
in the end credits as Neil, and played by Ben Affleck, meets a European woman, Marina,
Olga Kurylenko, in Paris and they have a love affair. He takes her and her daughter,
Tatiana, Tatiana Chiline, back to his home in Oklahoma where
he works as an environmentalist. But after a while Marina and Tatiana
return to France, and Neil has an affair with Jane,
Rachel McAdams, But this isn't the end of the
relationship between Neil and Marina.
Many people found Terrence Malick's award-winning
The Tree Of Life difficult, but few denied its power. The reclusive filmmaker's sixth film
in 40 years is another matter altogether and though I'm sure there will be
those who embrace it for its style and elusiveness, for me it felt like a bad parody
of a Terrence Malick film. As in Tree Of Life, Malick avoids
a straightforward narrative, instead telling his story
in tantalising fragments. There's no denying the film
is beautifully photographed, but the style has become
a bit of a cliche in itself. And it's annoying that the dialogue - in French, Spanish, Italian
and English - is often only half-heard, or that the characters,
especially Ben Affleck's, are so often framed
at the edge of the screen. I haven't mentioned the troubled
priest, played by Javier Bardem, who also plays a role
in the murky proceedings. Margaret, what did you make of this? Well, you know, Malick,
because he made so few films - you know, we were all hanging out
for the next Malick, and there was a period where we
thought he'd never make another one. 20 years between Days of Heaven
and The Thin Red Line.Yes. And he's come out with, you know,
four in the last little while.Mm. And... So you really want them all
to be as great, because I love New World
and The Tree Of Life. And I just... This one, I just went, 'You've lost me. I don't know
where you're going with this. 'And not only that,
you're actually boring me.' I got sick of Marina frolicking,
dancing through the landscape. It sort of became tedious
after a while and I couldn't see the significance
of it. I know that there's a religiosity
that's entered his filmmaking, too, that, to me, is elusive in this. I mean, I know that everybody's
searching for the meaning of life and love
and eternity.Yes. Well, click me in a little bit more,
please! Give us a little bit more help!
(Laughs) I want the answers, too! I can only give this two stars -
I was so disappointed. Yes, I'm giving it two and a half.
To The Wonder opens
in limited release this week. I don't know what you expect
from a film with the title A Gun In Each Hand,
but it certainly caught me unawares. The opening night film of the
Spanish Film Festival has no action but a lot of talk - approximately 10-15-minute
conversations between two people, often two men. There's the accidental meeting
after ten years of one neurotic but successful man
and his not so successful friend. There's the man delivering his child back to the wife he betrayed
two years ago and now he wants back in. There's the man who pours his heart
out to a man he met in a park about his wife's infidelity, and then there's
the married office worker who tries to hit on a colleague.
And then wives enter the picture,
each talking to the other's husband.
This funny, painful rumination
on the shortcomings of the male sex was co-written and directed
by Cesc Gay. It is completely delightful.
It's wry with a bitter twist. Performances from the ensemble cast
are absolutely top notch. I won't name them all but there is
not a weak link here. And despite the rather restricted
nature of what Gay is filming, he manages to not make it feel
static at all. You get the sense of life
in Barcelona, from the streets, the parks, people in the background, and, of course,
from the stories that emerge. It's a simple film in a lot of ways
but it's an ambitious one. David. And such a surprise.
Yes! Like you, the title, I was expecting
some kind of thriller, and, of course, not at all. A very, very intelligent and
very universal film, I think, about men's business...
(Laughs) ..not so secret, in this case.
And so beautifully written
and so really well acted. I mean, what a terrific
ensemble case here. And the thing is that youenter into