Disruption: Why PM Turnbull Wants It To Be Our Friend

Sep 15, 2015
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Dominic Woolrych

This morning Australia woke to a new Prime Minister. After a leadership spill was called Monday afternoon, Malcolm Turnbull emerged as the liberal party leader, beating now ex-prime minister Tony Abbott, 54 votes to 44.

While the media is abuzz with early-election speculation, the pending ministry-overhaul and policy change (substance and delivery), as an Australian tech startup, there’s one particular element of Turnbulls’ new vision for Australia that we’re most interested in.

Australia’s new friend

In his first speech as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister-designate, Malcolm Turnbull used his leadership platform to declare that [sic] “disruption driven by technology is our friend”.

Borrowing the lexicon of a silicon valley tech-evangelist, Turnbull supported this statement stating that for Australia to achieve a prosperous future, it must be agile, innovative and creative.
However, in an attempt to distance himself from his predecessor, the new PM also declared the death of the three word slogan, so let’s go beyond the rhetoric.

Here are 3 things you need to know about Australia’s (new) friendship with disruption

1. What is ‘disruption’?

In the tech world, the word disruption is thrown around alot, but what does it really mean? A quick google search will give you a number of definitions that attempt to explain what disruption *actually* means, but let’s take it from everybody’s favourite tech blog: Techcrunch defines disruption (in relation to a product) as:

“…addressing a market that previously couldn’t be served – a new-market disruption – or as offering a simple, cheaper or more convenient alternative to an existing product.”

To use ourselves as an example, Lawpath has been able to disrupt one of the last professional service industries (not to mention most conservative and hierarchical) through the use of technology.

2. Can politics and disruption get along?

Disruption has proven to be an extremely successful practice and philosophy in the tech industry, but can it be applied to the way a country governs? We’ll have to wait a couple of months before we can make a real assessment, but it appears that Turnbull’s new government will employ a more agile and technology-focused approach to deliver a new style of economic leadership. An approach, the PM said, that an Abbott government was unable to provide. Some early changes earmarked by the PM include improvements to online services offered by ASIC and the ATO.

3. What can the tech community expect from a pro-disruption PM?

Whether Turnbull’s pro-technology approach to governing is just rhetoric is still to be seen. But if nothing else, a PM with successful business-background and history of supporting new technology is bound to have an effect on Australia’s tech community.

In a recent interview on The Australian’s Cracking the Code last month, the then Minister for Communications spoke about the importance of the startup community and how the Federal government needed to set an example by implementing initiatives aimed at fostering its growth. Turnbull pointed to examples such as the tax break for small businesses announced in the May budget and the treatment of employee share schemes. Perhaps the leadership change could even save the ATP?

Now in the country’s top job, startups and small business’ can now call on the leader as a friend, but we’ll have to see how nicely politics and technology get along.

How have you reacted to the #libspill? Let us know what you think, #lawpath or @lawpath on twitter.

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