Visitors to Australia's federal parliament are often surprised by the robust verbal confrontation between the government and the opposition – technically known as questions without notice, more commonly as question time. A theatrical highpoint of every sitting day, question time is part intellectual cage fight, part kindergarten spat – and all psychological warfare. Political journalists watch the hour-long question time as drought-stricken farmers view the clouds. They look for signs, they read the climate. But what if you were interested in facts?
The Victorian government has announced the recipients of the first round of LaunchVic funding, handing out AU 6.5 million to universities, startups, incubators, and projects to "drive new ideas" and create jobs in the state. Global IT firm Dimension Data will receive a AU 450,000 boost from the LaunchVic startup kitty to set up a cybersecurity incubator with Deakin University. The incubator will be located at Deakin's Waurn Ponds campus and hopes to address the skills shortage in the Australian cybersecurity industry by accelerating the development of unique cybersecurity solutions and intellectual property. The incubator will sit alongside the new cybersecurity degree program being developed at Deakin University, which is scheduled to commence in 2017. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dimension Data was acquired by Japanese telco giant NTT in 2010 for 3.2 billion.
The New South Wales government has delivered a Budget centred on infrastructure, handing out AU 14 million of its AU 13.7 billion education spend to research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies, as well as AU 25 million to innovation. The government, in collaboration with TAFE NSW and the state's universities, will be establishing the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) with a AU 25 million injection to foster the ideas that lead to startups. "Entrepreneurship is critical to driving innovation and that is why it's so important we educate and encourage young people to create new businesses focused on the global market," Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said. "This school will foster collaboration and use the expertise within our world-class universities across a range of disciplines. We want to help create a critical mass of informed, dynamic, and enthusiastic professionals with the practical skills required to thrive as an entrepreneur.
Western Australia's opposition wants to spark local innovation, pledging AU 14.5 million for a new industries fund to support startups. Under Labor's plan, startups could access the funds for business skills, marketing support, investment strategy, and advocacy work in the technology and computer gaming sectors. State Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the funding would be spread over five years, with AU 10 million slated for city-based projects, and the remainder given to those in rural locations. McGowan said the new program would be Labor's way of diversifying the state's economy as the mining sector slowed down, with the focus shifting to those in specialist fields such as digital media, app development, computer animation, and computer game development. "I want to ensure that our best and brightest remain in our state, go on and use their creative abilities to create great businesses, great companies, great opportunities for West Australians," he said.
Ready to smash the patriarchy, mate? Well, say goodbye to gender inequality and g'day to enlightened schoolchildren, because Australia's kids are learning about privilege. A new A 21.8 million ( 16.5 million) education program has been trialled in Victoria, and will now be rolled out in the state's public schools over the next two years. It aims to encourage "respectful relationships" among male and female students, including addressing issues of "social inequality, gender-based violence and male privilege." The Respectful Relationships curriculum will run from primary (elementary) school, up until high school and covers topics ranging from sexual orientation, pornography and pay inequality.