Today we gather to honour and recognise distinguished Australians for their contributions to the information and communications industry. I congratulate the recipients of this year’s Pearcey Medal and other awards, and commend the Pearcey Foundation for its work in promoting the wider recognition of information and communications technology within Australian industry and society.
So it is clear why we need organisations like the Pearcey Foundation “to promote and encourage Australian ICT achievement” and “to promote the industry and its role and positive contribution to the whole of the Australian economy”. In 1948 Trevor Pearcey designed Australia’s first computer, and one of the first computers in the world. He did this the year I was born, and he helped shape the world in which I have worked and lived. It is also appropriate to recognise, as a member of the Board of CSIRO, that Trevor Pearcey was a CSIRO scientist, reminding us of the important role that CSIRO has played, and continues to play, in Australia’s industrial development. Today, fortunately, CSIRO continues to be an Australian icon and an institution highly trusted by Australians. Outside the ICT industry, however, few people remember the work of people like Trevor Pearcey. Unlike Donald Bradman, Trevor Pearcey was not part of the citizenship quiz devised by John Howard’s government.