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certainty is that nothing is certain and nothing is unchallengeable. The lesson of the last twelve months and the last decade is that we must be able to adapt to change. We must be flexible in our outlook to business and we must be ready for the bugler’s call to action. We must be prepared to seize the opportunities as they are presented to us. In Australia, I believe we must move decisively to expand our exports. If we move decisively, our factories and our farms increase their sales to the richest and fastest growing markets in Asia. Our exports will increase, our balance of payments position will improve and we will have forged across the Pacific and Indian oceans trading partnerships with the vast resources of Asia and the Middle East. To achieve all these things for Australia, to properly take its place in the world, for its people and graduates of this university to be properly placed in businesses that are internationally competitive, I would say that the number one domestic issue in Australia today is education. But education is to no avail if there are no jobs to go to. It is true that Australia must improve its education; must improve the quality of its universities. What concerns me today more than anything else is the statistic that there will be one million young boys and girls in this continent coming into the labour market in the next ten years who have not even graduated from high school. Where are they going to find jobs? Which union or business will employ them? One million of them. The best schools, the best teachers and the best books are of no avail if there are no jobs. Out of work university graduates cost just as much as an out of work school dropout. The family beset by unemployment that cannot send their children to university or support itself may even encourage children to finish high school prematurely and enter the workforce. A student, a dropout or a university graduate who can’t find work or a job in an expanding economy really creates a lot of social problems that we all have to address. Education is the key to growth in this country. We must educate our children and our people as our most valuable resource. We must make it possible for those with talent to go to university, but only if those who are educated can find a job. Finding a job, at the end of the day, is what really matters to contribute to our society. That’s why our ability to compete internationally and to export our exports is so important. We have to stand up there with other nations and be competitive. ‘There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university’, wrote John Mansfield in his tribute to English universities, and his words are equally true here. He did not refer to the spires or the ivory towers, to the campus greens and to the vice-chancellors. He admired the splendid beauty of a university because he said it was ‘a place’. A place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know. Where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see. In the coming weeks and months, all of you will strive to know and all of you will perceive the truth, and strive to make others see as I have been trying to do in the media. Your leadership is very important, because in the final analysis it’s truth that really matters. That’s the most important thing the community needs to hear from its academic staff, from our scientists across this nation. We don’t want to avoid our problems, we want to face them. While in Australia we feel very isolated from the world as I know it in Europe and the United States, the world has not really escaped from the global financial crisis or from the darkness that still envelops a lot of the things that are happening in Greece and right across the board. But we meet here today in an atmosphere of rising hope, in a moment of competitive calm. I have confidence in the future of this country and confidence in Australia playing an increasing role in the world economy, based on the real needs of the world, rather than the perceived needs, and all that Australia has to offer in the coming years for the growth in Asia. The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 199


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