What is it with Dick Smith and his obsessive attitude to everything having to be either made in Australia or owned by Australians?
Today he took to bleating on about Dick Smith, a Company that he was so proud of that in 1982 he sold 60% of it to Woolworths because he was more interested in making a pile of money than running an Australian Company.
A short time later Woolworths acquired the rest of the Company, which under Dick Smith’s control had become a location that you went to buy cheap made in Asia products (such as cheap radio’s electronic components) and cheap made in Asia Toys.
Back then Smith did not bleat on about everything having to be Australian.
Earlier today, Smith came out and said that he will “rubbish” the electronics business he founded and that still bears his name if it is sold into foreign ownership.
He went on to say that there will be “a real problem if Woolworths do sell it to a foreign-owned company,” Mr Smith said, in response to news that Woolworths plans to sell the chain as we exclusively tipped two weeks ago.
“I’ll rubbish them the whole time. They wouldn’t want to pay much.”
What I don’t hear is Dick Smith offering to buy the Company back so that it does stay in Australian hands.
What Dick Smith is doing with his bigoted attitude is simply seeking publicity for Dick Smith.
What he fails to realise is that Australia is now part of a global community, not some isolated Country at the bottom end of the earth that makes money by digging minerals or squeezing gas out of the ground.
Or maybe he wants the Country to survive on Agriculture instead of the work of very smart Australians.
We only have a population of 22 million which according to a Hollywood executive is a “a piss ant number” when it came to marketing and selling products into Countries like China, Russia or India, where real market growth is occurring for the consumer electronics and IT industries.
If Dick Smith was seriously concerned about Australia and its future he should start lobbying politicians about our lack of education for sciences and technology.
Take a Country like Israel who has a population of 7.6 million, yet despite this they are exporting technology while also developing leading edge technology which global Companies like Apple, Google and IBM are buying into.
When asked why he would attack the foreign takeover of the struggling Dick Smith stores, he said “because I’m a proud Australian and this is just continuing where all the wealth is going overseas and damaging our country”.
Dick Smith is so out of touch with what Australia needs to make it a force in the future.
Right now very few–if any–Australian Companies would wan’t to move into the consumer electronics or IT business, so the only potential buyer if any is an overseas Company.
Woolworths has already spoken to several overseas retail groups that include Best Buy, as well as a major group in Asia. No one appears to be interested.
Science and technology, along with content and applications, are the future and right now. Australia is struggling to deliver a viable industry because government-after-government have failed to invest in educating people.
When you have politicians including cabinet members and public servants who struggle to operate a smart phone or even use a tablet, one has to question what chance is there that these very same people know how to invest so that we can create a “very smart” Australia.
What overseas Companies do is engage in the transfer of knowledge. They employ foreign nationals to teach Australians how to do things better.
Take Coles for example. They were a basket case under Australian management but when Ian McLeod was appointed as managing director, the Company witnessed a turnaround. Sales went up and more people were employed, but more importantly skill sets were transferred and knowledge learnt overseas was put into practise in Australia.
What Australia does not want is a bitter twisted winger in the form of Dick Smith. What we do need to survive is a new attitude to education, knowledge transfer and above all, to become part of a global community where Australian Companies sell the bulk of their goods into Asia over Australia which will be lucky to hit a population of 30 million by 2020.