Remarks at Education Roundtable

11 Jul 2017
Prime Minister
International and Trade, Education and Childcare


Welcome, the Prime Minister of Australia, to our university campus in central London. Malcolm Turnbull I know from my many years in Australia, is an absolute leader, a champion for innovation. He has connections with the UK - he was here as a Rhodes Scholar – and deep friendships. I think he’d appreciate as much as any of us that this is an unbridled opportunity to build on long, deep friendships and really strengthen the relationships in education, in research, not only around universities but more broadly between our two countries going ahead.

So Prime Minister welcome. It’s wonderful to see you here. Perhaps I can invite you to say a few words and I’ll invite my colleagues to introduce themselves.


Very good well thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me here today. The ties between Australia and UK universities of course, are about as intimate as they possibly could be. My old university, Sydney University was built to imitate, if you like, or recreate the spirit of Oxford and Cambridge. It’s motto, Sidere mens eadem mutato - the same mind under different stars - gives you an indication of the closeness of the relationship.

We all understand the closeness of the connections over so many years but let me get down to business. The most important thing I’d like to hear from you about, is about innovation and research and development.

We have a big innovation and science agenda in Australia. Innovation is the key to productivity. It's absolutely essential. Our agenda is going well, we are seeing stronger investment in venture capital and startups, actually quite considerable strengthening there.

But one thing we do not do well enough in Australia, and you do much better than we do – and I’d like to hear from you, why you think that’s so – is that we don’t have enough collaboration between primary research and universities and industry.

In other words, we are not commercialising enough of our IP. In fact we were talking about it only at breakfast this morning Alexander with some of the CEO’s – now we’ve changed the research grant rules to give priority to or encouragement to that type of collaboration but given how close we are culturally and in every respect, with the UK, why are you – we believe that you’re doing it better than us, and how can we improve it. Because we want to make more of those great, Australian ideas and intellectual property turn into great Australian businesses and Australian jobs.