Dot-com heavies, venture capitalists on new innovation body

By The Mandarin

March 15, 2016

It’s a very exciting time to be on a government board in Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has amplified advice to the government on his “ideas boom”, appointing leading entrepreneurs and business chiefs from Google, Atlassian and Seek to a new Innovation and Science Australia statutory body.

The organisation replaces Innovation Australia and has broader functions advising the government on “strategic innovation and science priorities and investment”.

In a joint statement, Turnbull and Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Christopher Pyne said board members have a “proven record of success”.

It includes Maile Carnegie, Google’s Australasian boss, Scott Farquhar, founder of the booming recently floated software firm Atlassian, Seek co-founder Paul Bassat, former Microsoft executive and venture capitalist Daniel Petre, and ResMed executive Dr Chris Roberts.

Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel will act as deputy chair to venture capitalist Bill Ferris, the already announced chair. Dr Michele Allan, chancellor at Charles Stuart University, has been reappointed from the Innovation Australia board.

Turnbull has made innovation a key plank in his agenda since taking over as prime minister, charging Pyne with the development of the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Replacement for Dodson on Referendum Council

Meanwhile, Pat Anderson has been appointed as the new co-chair of the Referendum Council, which is overseeing the future vote on indigenous recognition in the constitution. Former co-chair Patrick Dodson quit to take up a Senate seat for Labor.

Anderson, author of the controversial Little Children Are Scared report for the Howard government, is an Alyawarre woman and chairperson of the Lowitja Institute. She’s previously been CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and executive officer and chair of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory.

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