Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Universities Australia sticks it to the Australian high technology industry

Universities Australia has launched a recent ad campaign decrying proposed funding cuts to university research.  This ad showcases the products of off-shore corporate giants which are trying to destroy the Australian high tech industry. 

The complicated scientific instrument pictured in the ad from 0:12 to 0:17 is something called a IMS-1280, manufactured by the American technology amalgamation Ametek under the brand name of Cameca, a European tech company which Ametek took over last decade. Ametek is perhaps the most aggressive corporate giant around in trying to leverage the recent high Australian dollar to destroy the Australian technology industry. 

Obviously, Australia is only a mid-size country, and most instrumentation in Australian universities is sourced from off-shore suppliers.  But many of these suppliers are good corporate citizens, who set up Australian subsidiaries, employ Australian graduates, and work closely with Australian agents, subcontractors, and scientists to sustain the high technology industries that define advanced economies in the 21st century.  Indeed, one of these companies, the Japanese technology group JEOL, has an electron probe installed just across the hall from where the picture in the ad was taken.

Ametek is not a good corporate citizens.  Instead of collaborating with Australian manufacturers, they hire foreign lawyers to block sales around the globe.  While other companies reinvest in Australian research they hire slick Morden-like spokespeople to belittle the achievements of Australian academics.  And instead of helping Australian universities improve productivity and reduce costs through co-developed hardware and software modifications, they lock their customers into exorbitant service contracts, the proceeds of which allow them to underbid Australian companies whose instruments are generally preferred by researchers all over the world.

Every time one of the instruments pictured in this ad is purchased instead of an Australian equivalent, Australian universities lose hundreds of thousands dollars in direct payments from Australian companies and their international customers. It also means that Australian companies cannot create jobs for university graduates, such as those pictured in the first part of the ad.

The government is proposing cuts to university funding because of a revenue shortfall.  Revenue is down because aggressive corporate tactics by companies like Ametek are denying work to Australian companies, resulting in fewer hours worked, reduced income for the employees, and reduced income tax payment to the government.  So the approach of Universities Australia to showcase one of the most aggressive job-killers in their ad asking for government money is incredibly callous to all Australian trying to earn a living outside of the Ivory tower.


Anonymous said...

Are you going to talk to 'Universities Australia' and tell them about this?

C W Magee said...

I email them straight up.

Isotopic said...

FWIW, when I originally saw the ad (not associated with your post) I wasn't paying careful attention and thought it was a SHII collector. I guess the CCD for the microchannel plate should have tipped me off.

And the reversed chirality. (Which, by the way, leads to a great joke for a non-specialist audience who ask about the difference between a SHII and a 12X0 - you can blame the Coriolis effect)