Politics, Science/Environment

Atlassian co-founder says Stegall’s climate bill is the type of action Australia needs

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has thrown his support behind a climate action bill proposed by the independent Zali Steggall and has urged the major parties to put down the cudgels and support it.

By Katharine Murphy and Adam Morton

And the Australian Energy Council, representing major electricity and gas businesses, said the Steggall bill deserved to be seriously considered as it had the potential to deliver certainty and a path forward for the national economy.

Co-founder of Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes says Zali Staggall’s climate action proposal is ‘a smart bill’ that deserves bipartisan support from the parties. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Cannon-Brookes said on Tuesday the Steggall proposal, unveiled this week, was “a smart bill, and the exact type of action we need to change Australia’s international reputation on climate”.

The bill includes a proposal for a net zero emissions target by 2050, a carbon emissions budget, and assessments every five years of national climate change risk. The MP has called on the major parties to bring the bill to the floor and allow a conscience vote.

Cannon-Brookes said the proposal contained all the elements of a viable settlement to the climate wars. “The legislated 2050 target and five-year increments are precisely what is required, and the bill deserves bipartisan support.”

Zali Steggall to unveil climate change bill and push for a conscienc

Cannon-Brookes has been vocal in support of climate action in Australia, and has supported independents through Climate 200 – an environmental lobby group also supported by Simon Holmes à Court. But he has not played a hands-on role in drafting the current proposal.

Sarah McNamara, the Australian Energy Council’s chief executive, said Steggall’s bill was a considered attempt to find a workable framework and had the potential to move the country beyond the climate policy impasse.

“We would encourage that it be carefully considered and calmly assessed,” she said.

“It offers the potential for much-needed certainty and a clear path forward not just for the energy industry, but for the Australian economy. For our part we will be consulting with our members in the coming weeks to assess the bill in detail.”

It follows a declaration by the Business Council of Australia that Australia should work to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.Q&A

What is in Zali Steggall’s climate change bill?

While the BCA has at times in its history has been riven on climate action, and has actively stymied progress, the organisation’s chief executive Jennifer Westacott told the ABC on Monday night the time had now come to deliver policy certainty.

“I reckon if we could get the two political parties to agree to that and legislate it, we would have made a massive advance in this country because we would know where we’re going,” Westacott said.

While the BCA in 2018 described Labor’s more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target as “economy wrecking”, in 2019 it joined other groups in representing industry, unions, farmers and investors under the Australian Climate Roundtable banner in calling for policies that could put it on a path to net zero emissions.

On Monday night, Westacott characterised the Steggall proposal as “sensible”.

Steggall’s bill will not be brought on for debate unless either the government or Labor supports it reaching the floor of the House. The government has not yet made a decision but it is unlikely to support it.

On Tuesday morning, the Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it was highly unlikely the bill would be voted on “because that’s what happens with private member’s bills in the House of Representatives, unless the government agrees to allocate time for the bill, it will not be voted on”.

Albanese said the proposal was very well intentioned, and he “respected” Steggall for bringing it forward, but told the ABC “we are unlikely to have a conscience vote on climate change. What we’ll do is support action on climate change.”

The Labor leader said the opposition would commit to a long-term emissions reduction target “very soon” and, referencing an internal split within the Coalition about taxpayer backing for new coal plants, said: “I don’t think there is a place for new coal-fired power plants in Australia. Full stop.”

On Sunday, Labor’s deputy leader Richard Marles, in a particularly awkward interview, did not rule out the party supporting new coal developments, saying it would be a decision for the markets despite previously declaring it would be a “good thing” if the thermal coal market collapsed.

First published at The Guardian Australia – Tuesday 11 February 2020. See;


Atlassian Corporation Plc is an Australian based and bred enterprise software multinational that develops products for software development, project management, and content management. Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar founded Atlassian in 2002.

It is best known for its issue tracking application, Jira, and its team collaboration and wiki product, Confluence. Atlassian serves over 135,000 customers.

In March 2019, Atlassian’s value was US$26.6 billion. Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar own approximately 30 percent each.

3 Comments

  1. The pathetic behaviour which passes for political leadership in Oz, is almost beyond belief. Whilst, on his past, totally unedifying record, we expect Schemo to duck issues and bolster the positions of his coal-producing supporters, we might have hoped for something better from Albanese.
    The Labor leader has failed miserably to take advantage of an ideal opportunity to show some courage and to demonstrate his abilities as a potential prime minister. Instead, he fluffs about, telling us that private members’ bills are rarely voted on, because that’s the way it is.
    No wonder Australia is in such a mess. Morrison dithers, having no idea of where he is, let alone where he should be going, and Albanese is still so shell-shocked by Labor’s defeat by Queensland at the last election, that he isn’t game to make a significant, definitive statement about anything – yet.
    Steggall’s bill has been warmly reviewed by people who seem to know what they’re talking about, and it seems to be deserving of consideration by the parliament.
    At the risk of revealing my ignorance of political process, I’m prepared to suggest that, surely, there must be some mechanism by which the Opposition can put pressure on Morrison’s mob to let the proposed bill see daylight.

    Editors note: Julian – see the article we just published here headlined – Here’s six ways to start fixing our broken politics.

  2. Julian,agree with you about the pathetic Albanese.
    What is his problem? Is he scared of offending the Murdoch pres?

    My nickname for him seems appropriate” – it is “slow poke Rodriguez.”

    Perhaps they need a leadership skirmish like the amazingly incompetent Nationals. Could I suggest Penny Wong, she couldn’t do a worse job than Albo.

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