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Tuesday, 20 May 1980
Page: 2892

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (Leader of the Opposition) - Mr Speaker,I seek indulgence -

Mr SPEAKER - To make a correction, as I understand it?

Mr HAYDEN - Yes.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable gentleman may proceed.

Mr HAYDEN -On 12 May 1980 I spoke in Brisbane to the Australian Colleges of Advanced Education Computing Science Conference. Among the things that I said was:

I notice that another distinguished Australian, the Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowen, was reported in the Press last week as saying that fears about the loss of employment through the introduction of new technology have been shown to be unfounded.

I continued:

I am not sure why Sir Zelman has chosen to enter this particular argument or what is the basis for his assertion.

I concluded in this regard, by saying:

Not even the silicon chip could have any impact on the traditional duties of the Governor-General, but I wish I could share Sir Zelman 's confidence about the impact of technology on the general work force.

That statement was based on an article in the Melbourne Age of Thursday 8 May which, inter alia, under a photograph of the GovernorGeneral, attributed to him the following comment:

.   . fears about the loss of employment through the introduction of new technology had been demonstrated to be unfounded.

My attention has been drawn to the actual speech that was delivered by Sir Zelman Cowen- the 1980 Meredith Memorial lecture- at La Trobe University on Wednesday 7 May. The relevant part of which- it is relatively short- reads:

In the past, apprehensions of loss of employment in the face of technical progress and what for long was called automation have been demonstrated to be unfounded. I do not have time to explore the reasons for this; and the question is whether it is likely to be the same with the new technology with its applications in computer control and robotics. The further question is whether such employment problems are likely to be long term. I don't know how broad the terms of today's subject are, but it seems to me that such issues are central to a consideration of Austraiian science and technology in the decades ahead.

At the time I delivered my address, on Friday, 9 May, I was not aware of a correction or report in the Age on that date headed: 'Computers a worry says Cowen'. It included the full quotation which I have just given. To the extent that there has been a misrepresentation, I apologise.

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