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Rich-lister CEO won’t stop asking the NSW Premier this one question

Left: Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes; Right: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. (Source: Getty)

For the better part of November, the east and south coast of Australia has been gripped by catastrophic bushfires that have ravaged forests, homes, and koala habitats.

And according to scientists, the severity and intensity of the bushfires have been made worse by global warming.

“This year bushfire risk in parts of northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland has been exacerbated by drought, very dry fuels and soils, and heat,” said Climate Council.

“All of these factors have been aggravated by climate change.”

Climate change is also lengthening bushfire season, meaning the window to perform hazard reduction burning is narrower, the group said.

University of Sydney professor of ecology and evolution Professor Glenda Wardle told SBS that climate change was “causally linked to the health of the bush” and had “both direct and indirect pathways of causation to catastrophic fires”.

Bushfires across Australia as at 27 November 2019. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot/Google Crisis Map/rfs.nsw.gov.au)

But when Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian were faced with questions about the link between global warming and the intensity of the bushfires, Berejiklian asked for a rain check.

"We just want everyone to focus on protecting life and property and of course we'll have those discussions. We've never shied away from those," she told ABC News on Monday 11 November.

“But when you face people who are protesting I often say to them 'Well, why don't you help out people who have just lost everything?' Let's have these discussions another day.”

But one Australian business leader has been doggedly asking when Berejiklian wants to have that discussion.

Tech billionaire and Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes has tweeted Berejiklian for more than a fortnight asking when she wants to chat.

Sending a wave emoji and tagging the @GladysB handle, Cannon-Brookes said: “15 days ago you said it “wasn’t the day” to talk about the clear links between climate change & bushfires.

“You haven’t talked about it in 15 days. I won’t stop asking.”

“Is today the day? #nametheday”.

It appears other Australians are impatient for Bereijiklian to address the topic, too – the tweet has gathered more than 3,000 likes on Twitter and nearly a thousand retweets (at the time of writing).

Cannon-Brookes has been named as one of Australia’s top 10 most powerful people of 2019.

Atlassian CEO: ‘I won’t stop asking’ to discuss climate change

In his tweet, the Australian CEO quoted his own tweet from five days ago that was nearly identical.

The first time Cannon-Brookes asked Berejiklian to talk about the effect of climate change on bushfires was the night Berejiklian made her comments.

But be believes these conversations should have been had much, much earlier.

A few days later, he retweeted a tweet from ABC730 journalist and comedian Mark Humphries who did a sketch of a breakfast show called the ‘Not Today Show’, described as “a show for politicians who aren’t ready to talk about climate change”.

On November 21, Cannon-Brookes followed up on his own tweet from 11 November.

‘#nametheday’: Pressure on Berejiklian mounts on social media

Other people have run with the hashtag Cannon-Brookes started, posing the same question to the NSW Premier.

Berejiklian has copped heat on social media as of late, earning herself the nickname ‘#KoalaKiller’ online, with the bushfires being dubbed #BerejiklianBushfires.

Starting the #KoalaKiller hashtag was Australian YouTuber Jordan Shanks, better known online as friendyljordies, who posted a YouTube video blaming the Coalition government for the funding cuts to national park funding which reduces the risk of bushfires.

“We have to associate this natural disaster with her. #BerejiklianBushfires,” Shanks said in the video.

“Because cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from emergency services and national parks is the equivalent of lighting the world’s biggest match.”

A day after Berejiklian’s “not today” comment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was slammed for sending his ‘thoughts and prayers’ for bushfire victims and received criticism about the NSW Government’s funding cuts to fire services budgets.

–with AAP

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