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‘Step up’: Atlassian boss urges staff, Aussie businesses to join global climate strike

Mike Cannon-Brookes is throwing his weight behind protests for greater action on climate change. (Source: Getty)

The co-founder of Australian tech unicorn Atlassian is urging his workforce to join a global strike for climate action and hopes other Australian businesses will follow suit.

Tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has thrown his support behind School Strike 4 Climate Action, a student-led campaign expected to see thousands walk out of their classrooms or workplaces on 20 September demanding action on climate change ahead of the 2019 United Nations climate summit that will be held in New York.

Companies have to share responsibility for the “climate crisis” and said Australians could not trust the government “at all” to address it, he told SMH.

Corporations are directly affected by climate change, and it’s in their interests to call for stronger action, Cannon-Brookes argued.

“Corporations have to deal with it; they have to deal with their own impact and their own footprint as companies.”

Australia has “no credible climate policy whatsoever,” Cannon-Brookes said, and in the absence of federal political leadership, Australian business leaders have to “step up and try to solve this problem”.

“Humanity faces a climate change emergency. It’s a crisis that demands leadership and action. But we can’t rely on governments alone,” he said.

“Sadly, in Australia, we can’t rely on them at all. Businesses and individuals must also play their part and this responsibility is even more urgent when governments fail.”

‘Not Business As Usual’

Twenty other firms have joined the movement, including ethical superannuation fund Future Super, reusable coffee cup brand KeepCup and clean energy retailer Amber, all of which have formed an alliance called Not Business as Usual.

The alliance pledges to “support worker participation in the climate strike on September 20th”.

“We know the number one reason people won't strike is because of work,” the website states.

“Every business in Australia can do something, whether it's closing the doors, having a meeting free day, allowing time out on a lunch break to strike, or sending an email to make it clear teams will not be penalised for taking a few hours off.

“The reality is that while it's not up to the private sector to lead climate action, we can do our part in this first of a kind moment.”

Here’s a list of the businesses who have made the pledge to support workers on strike:

  • Atlassian

  • Future Super

  • Spaceship

  • Australian Ethical

  • KeepCup

  • Dumbo Feather

  • 1 Million women

  • Startmate

  • Impact Investment Group

  • Small Giants

  • Amber

  • Ajura Lawyers

  • Dovetail

  • Grok Ventures

  • Motherhood App

  • ACCR

  • Energy lab

  • CodeBarrel

  • BrandCrush

  • TechSydney

Cannon-Brookes is ‘Fair Dinkum’ on clean energy

Brookes has previously been at the forefront of efforts to combat climate change, such as establishing Fair Dinkum Power, a movement for “clean, cheap, reliable and Australian” energy in November last year.

The ‘Fair Dinkum’ name was inspired by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had posted a video explaining the federal government’s energy policy of “put[ting] more fair dinkum, reliable energy, power into the system”.

Cannon-Brookes took issue with the way Morrison was using the term ‘fair dinkum’ and sought to ‘take back’ the Australian idiom.

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