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from happening. A lot of our scientists don’t actually do research, they actually apply for a grant after they’ve done the research because they're worried about their reputation. I think all you scientists out there know that! We’ve got to stop doing that and reach for things we don’t know about. I was once working in a company, I was R&D director, and we were giving funding out to universities. We got 15 unique ideas for a project once which were all the same idea from 15 different universities. They got this unique idea from one of the journals in the United States. So when you look at research and think about the things that are funded, there are a lot of universities in all countries doing the same thing. The trick really is to be different; to do something original. That’s where the breakthroughs come from. That’s where Australia has in the past made a lot of breakthroughs because they’ve looked at things from a different angle. Many academics in the States and Europe go to various scientific conferences and there’s always a flavour of the month, a flavour of the day. Then they all go back to their universities and all do the same research, or evaluate each other’s. It’s the guy who has a different idea, a different approach. Because Australian scientists don’t go to a lot of these conferences due to the tyranny of distance, we’ve got a great advantage of original thinking. As I said, ideas go on forever. QUESTION: What is your view on corporate social responsibility and what would your advice be to other corporate leaders in Australia. CLIVE PALMER: There’s an old thing we used to say in Australia many years ago – ‘my job’s okay; it provides for my family. I’m not really happy about it but it’s my job and I really enjoy myself outside work’. A lot of people have taken that view and you really are deluding yourself. We’re on this earth 24 hours a day. You want to be able to enjoy your job and enjoy your home life. Actually, you're going to perform better at your job and be a lot happier if you can do that. That works when dealing with corporations as well because making their workers happy and making their life interesting helps our society have fewer problems. It’s about taking corporate responsibility. So I see corporate social responsibility as having responsibility to the people you're working with - your colleagues and staff – making sure their lives are interesting, that they can do something. In Queensland we took over a nickel refinery that BHP had. They spent $6 billion but they were losing $300 million a year and we bought it. I remember going there with my legal director Geoff Smith, who is sitting there in the front row. After we bought it we had a thousand people working there. It was an enormous chemistry plant that cost $6 billion to build, you can imagine how big it was over an area of about five kilometres. I stood outside the plant and I said to Geoff, “Do you know how it works?” He said, “No. Do you know how it works?” I said, “No.” So neither of us knew how it worked but we’d spent all this money and it was churning out $2 billion a year and losing about $100 million. He said, “Well, how are we going to fix this?” I said, “I don’t know; I think we’re in a bit of trouble.” He said, ‘We better go back and get the people who do know how to do it and motivate them and see if they can fix it for us.” So I said they’ll all hate me because they're all Labor apparatchiks. So I put on a BLF shirt, grabbed a BLF flag, went on top of a stockpile and we had a meeting with a thousand or more workers. They all thought they were all going to get the sack and we increased their salary by ten per cent. I think I gave a speech that day that went something like this. I said, “No-one knows what it’s like to be at the end of a production line, aimlessly every day throwing water on something. Then to go home and sit across the dinner table from your wife and to look into her caring eyes and say you don’t know whether you’ve got a job tomorrow; you don’t know whether the kids will have a Christmas and you’re not sure what’s happening. Suddenly, you get that sinking feeling in your stomach that you mightn’t survive any longer.” Well I said to the workforce that that day was over. That this was liberation day and they were all free. So we increased 206 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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