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Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and Atlassian attended the Sydney climate strike with one message for politicians: 'Don’t @#$% the planet'

Jack Derwin
  • Atlassian co-founder and billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes attended the Sydney climate strike with staff, demanding politicians in Australia and abroad 'Dont @#$% the Planet'
  • Atlassian joined an estimated 2,000 other Australian businesses to demand climate action on Friday as part of the Global Climate Strike.
  • Rallies were well-attended with early estimates putting attendance in Sydney and Melbourne at over 50,000 each.

Mike Cannon-Brookes is one of the country's most successful businessmen, and wielding a fortune in excess of $10 billion, one of its richest.

Yet there he was on Friday standing among more than 50,000 other revellers to demand climate action at the Sydney Climate Strike. He was joined by many of his Atlassian employees who took a few hours off work to join protesters in the Domain and their message was clear.

"At Atlassian, one of our core values is ‘Don’t @#$% the Customer'. This year, we’re taking that a step further with ‘Don’t @#$% the Planet’," Cannon-Brookes said in a statement issued to Business Insider Australia.

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

While emphasising participation in the rally was entirely optional for Atlassian staff, Cannon-Brookes said it's amazing to see businesses step up.

"Every Atlassian deserves the freedom to be heard. As business leaders, we’ve got to step up and try to solve this problem," he said. "As a company, we have signed up to... be 100% renewable by 2025."

Cannon-Brookes has long been outspoken on the subject. Last year, he called out Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his energy policies, saying Australians wanted greater support of solar, wind and hydro energy.

He went on to propose that Australia could set itself up economically by not only running entirely on renewable power but by exporting it as well.

Beyond the one-day strike, he said employees are encouraged to do more throughout the year.

"We created the Atlassian Foundation with the vision of helping make the world better. All Atlassian employees are given a week per year to volunteer for charity. Those who participate in the strike will be able to use their foundation leave," he said. "But we want our people to go further and make a lasting impact by volunteering their time to other not-for-profit groups with a focus on climate.

"The bottom line is this: our staff who attend will have Atlassian’s full support. As a company we join them in sending a united message: Don’t @#$% the Planet."