Why ignoring Dick Smith is at our own peril

First Published: MARCH 06,2013

A helicopter flight with Dick Smith is certainly one of the more exciting experiences we have had in filming The Bottom Line.  We certainly got a sense of Dick’s love of adventure and love for Australia; it really was an inspiring afternoon.

However, there is more to Dick Smith than a love of adventure. While our media may have cast Dick as eccentric, or serving his own purpose in promoting Australian owned goods, Dick is not only deeply passionate about making a difference to Australians, he is also entirely logical in his argument.

When you visit his office, you can see that Dick Smith is not motivated by the trappings of wealth. His office is extremely modest and his down to earth attitude belies the success he has achieved. While he does have  expensive toy, his Westland Power 109 helicopter (worth roughly $6million) he is unassuming and surprisingly normal.

I do believe Dick’s love of flying comes from a spirit that is truly freedom loving, and that freedom is something he is trying to ensure for all Australians in the future.

While Dick’s methods may be unusual (he does know how to cause a media scene) his basic message is to guarantee the best future for Australia, the country that he has been able to make his fortune, and that he loves with a loyalty that is pure Aussie.

While many have ridiculed Dick’s views on population, when we talked to Dick he made it very clear; he is not saying do not let refugees into the country. In fact, according to Dick, we should be embracing refugees. What he is saying is that our attitude of “growth at all costs” is going to adversely affect future generations.

Bringing in more people, while not building the infrastructure to support them is short sighted. On a very small scale, I can see that happening in the community we live in, in the northern suburbs of Sydney. With more apartments being built, but no more parking or school facilities, our suburb is in danger of being built out.

Multiply this on a mass scale and you can see what Dick Smith is saying. Without proper planning and investment in infrastructure, Australia is in danger of losing the outdoor, clean and relaxed environment we are famous for around the world. It is a question of sustainability.

Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum or what you think of Dick Smith personally, to ignore his message is at our own peril. If we truly care about Australia’s future then it is people like Dick who can help ensure our long term prosperity.