Some Heaps #Disruptive Ideas Malcom Turnbull’s New Buzzword-Tastic Innovation Program Should Take On

What if we put a price on carbon pollution? Wait, hold on, never mind.

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The future is coming, and it sounds fairly insufferable. This morning Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined with Industry Minister Christopher Pyne to announce a $1 billion dollar federal innovation program designed to help tech start-ups, stimulate R&D and give tax breaks to businesses that do things with tablets or something, I dunno.

Turnbull, who’s made hay for the last two decades styling himself as a tech-head, is evidently very excited about this new state of affairs. The rollout of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, or the ‘Ideas Boom’ as it’s been coined, is chock-full of terms like “disrupt”, “innovate”, “agile”, “mobile”, “dynamic”, “risk” and every other meaningless, vaguely techy buzzword that some poor political staffer could cram into a media release.

Turnbull’s quest to turn Australia into a nation of tiny, turtleneck-wearing Steve Jobses, and the evangelical, Social Network-esque hype that seemingly comes with it, has been met with a mixture of cautious optimism, outright hilarity, and utter madness. If you haven’t seen the trainwreck the government’s starry-eyed #IdeasBoom hashtag has become, I strongly recommend getting amongst.

But in this new gamechanging, thought-leading, paradigm-disrupting, narcolepsy-inducing Australia, it would be remiss of an #agile, #innovative #online #blog like Junkee dot com not to get into the swing of things and offer some suggestions. We’ve come up with some truly synergy-tastic ideas for the Turnbull government to think about, implement, and hopefully throw a boatload of taxpayer money at us for.

Penalty Rates

Like Abbott before him, Turnbull has expressed an interest in cutting Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, retail and other workers — a move which would give small businesses the freedom to streamline their operations by staying open more hours, and low-paid workers the freedom to streamline their operations by eating less. While this #idea may seem forward-thinking, it actually stifles true innovation — a business that can’t operate without paying their workers commensurate to their labour is unlikely to be a hothouse of bold new ideas.

Rather than take this approach, we believe the government has a rare opportunity to do something truly disruptive. Enshrining penalty rates as an inalienable right for all workers, especially in typically unstable, low-paid industries like retail and hospo, will stimulate the economy by giving workers the ability to pay for things like food, rent and utilities. With all the peace of mind that comes with not starving and/or being homeless, some of those lowly wait staff might go on to invent the next Facebook, or at least the next MySpace, which deserves a ‘You Tried’ ribbon if nothing else.

High-Speed Broadband Internet

The economy of the 21st Century will be based on strong digital infrastructure like never before, making easy-to-access, high-speed broadband internet an absolute must for any country that doesn’t want to get left behind.

Thankfully, Turnbull’s time as Communications Minister yielded some exciting outcomes in this field, with the former Labor government’s National Broadband Network substantially reworked. What would’ve been an expensive, comprehensive, blindingly fast internet service to 93 percent of Australian households is now a more expensive, much slower, less convenient service that uses the same copper infrastructure we’ve been using for decades.

Shit, never mind. Moving on.

A Parliamentary Vote On Marriage Equality

This is truly an opportunity for the government to highlight its commitment to the edgiest, most disruptive system Australia’s ever produced — Parliamentary democracy! At the moment the government’s committed to having a nationwide plebiscite to decide whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to get married. That approach is distinctly un-innovative: it would take months, cost up to $150 million, and give oxygen to some very un-agile ideas, like how homosexuality is the Devil.

Cory Bernardi’s not been taking the leadership change well.

By contrast, a vote on the issue in Australia’s Parliament — a body well-known for enacting wide-ranging, comprehensive social and economic reforms when it pulls its head out of its own arse for long enough — could see this issue put to bed in a matter of days, for literally zero dollars. That’s a massive saving on time and money, with the added appeal of superseding a mindset to marriage and homosexuality that belongs in the fucking 1950s.

A Price On Carbon

Are we just not gonna mention this one or

Ah, righto then.

Not Funding More Bloody Coal Mines, For Bugger’s Sake

I mean.