Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian billionaire, calls on Government to reinstate carbon price
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes is taking on Scott Morrison over the phrase ‘fair dinkum power’. (ABC News)
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has called for Australia to reinstate the controversial carbon price, as he pushes to influence government policy with his new green energy campaign.
Mr Cannon-Brookes said the “movement”, dubbed Fair Dinkum Power, would put forward policy suggestions around renewable energy ahead of the upcoming election, with the aim to move Australia to “200 per cent renewable energy”.
“I think it will clearly be the number one or number two issue in the election,” he told 7.30.
“Australia could be a renewable energy super power.
“We could be exporting massive amounts of power, we could have huge numbers of jobs here in this space.
“We’ve just got to have vision and insight to go after that.”
‘Fair dinkum power’
The 38-year-old billionaire started software company Atlassian fresh out of university in 2002 with his co-founder Scott Farquhar.
It now counts Twitter, NASA, CSIRO and Qantas among its clients.
Mr Cannon-Brookes said he got fired up after seeing Prime Minister Scott Morrison use the term “fair dinkum power” — which he believes was code for coal power — and decided to “reclaim” the phrase by creating a movement of the same name.
What started as a tweet last week soon became a brand with its own website, logo and even printed t-shirts.
Mr Cannon-Brookes said the initiative aimed to influence public debate and “move the conversation to a pro-renewable stance”.
It isn’t the first time the tech CEO’s tweets have made headlines.
‘Put in place a carbon price’
Tesla’s built a giant lithium ion battery near Jamestown in South Australia after a challenge from Mike Cannon-Brookes. (ABC News: Andrew Burch)
Mr Cannon-Brookes denied Fair Dinkum Power was a political movement, but outlined several energy policy changes the group would present to the Federal Government.
“The biggest kind of thing we can do I guess is put in place a carbon price,” he said.
But he conceded “politically it’s incredibly unpopular, so it’s probably not going to happen.”
“The second thing we could do is just not subsidise older power generation techniques … like coal,” he said.
The Atlassian co-founder said his own power bill was “about $600 a month” and said neither his company nor him had anything to gain from the energy movement he is spearheading.
“I’ve got four kids and everyone out there who has kids should be worried about this issue,” he said.
“Not just from a climate change perspective, but from an economic perspective.
“Personally, I have some investments in solar plants, solar farms. I’m very bullish on that as a sector and you can see from the investment going in, that’s not a unique view.
“Bringing the price of power down, ironically, would actually hurt those investments, not help them.”
‘I’d be a terrible politician’
Despite being active in political issues, Mike Cannon-Brookes (right), with Scott Farquhar (left), says he’ll stick with Atlassian. (Reuters: Shannon Stapleton)
Despite his strong and frequently-shared political views, Mr Cannon-Brookes said he doesn’t donate to any political party and had no plans to get into politics himself.
“I’d be a terrible politician, I’ve said this a few times,” he said.
“I think part of the challenge of being a politician, especially in the current environment, is personal views versus party views becomes a really complicated issue.
“I personally think I would struggle with that mightily and I’ve got a lot of things on the go at the moment, so I’ve no desire to do that at the moment.”