Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes on Peter Dutton’s 457 visa comments: ‘This bullshit makes me mad’

Mike Cannon-Brookes. Source: supplied

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the Sydney-based founder of the $10 billion global tech business Atlassian, has accused federal immigration minister Peter Dutton of spreading “bullshit” about his company as the Turnbull government argues its case for scrapping the 457 visa.

Around a quarter of the company’s 1000-strong Australian workforce are on 457 temporary migration visas and The Australian today resurrected five-month old quotes from Cannon-Brookes on the issue, where he said the biggest problem local tech startups have as they grow is finding experienced senior technical talent.

“The biggest gap the 457s fill are the people that come in — the guys and girls who come in — have spent 10 years in a Silicon Valley company or a great European company and they come in and train the grads,” Cannon-Brookes said in November 2016.

Subsequently, Dutton questioned Atlassian’s employment practices, saying “Are they going into schools looking for young kids to go and work in jobs? Are they employing mature aged workers who have found themselves out of a job elsewhere?”.

Cannon-Brookes took to Twitter to ask rhetorically if he’d been “trolled” by the minister “as being un-Australian?”

“This bullshit makes me mad,” Atlassian’s co-CEO wrote, kicking off a series of tweets on the issue in which he mostly endorsed the changes.

Here are his observations on Twitter:

“As far as I can read so far… 457s have been named-changed with a remarkably similar program? (which actually looks quite good?)…”

“They removed occupations like actor, blacksmith, deer farmer, golfer, goat farmer & zookeeper. @Atlassian doesn’t hire a lot of those…”

“(One might wryly comment there’s an unaustralian joke in removing betting agency managers, shearers, jockeys and dog/horse trainers?) …”

“The tightenings in rules put in place actually look quite sensible to me (full reading coming soon)? …”

“And @PeterDutton_MP trolling?
Us: ?? Jobs created? 1000+. Grads hired? 100s. Scholarships? 100s. Kids CS classes? 1000s
You: ? #BringItOn”

“Our default position _is_ to see out an Australian for a job first… because it’s cheaper and faster to do so. It just makes sense. …”

“But when the experience required isn’t here, we need a program. That’s what the 457 did & the new program aims to do. Great…”

“This ‘new program’ seems to remove large categories of jobs which are nothing to do with tech – industries without those shortages. Great.”

“Let’s separate nationalism and logic. This program seems logical. The “Australia first” Trumpy crap adds nothing but hot air.”

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called Cannon-Brookes a “patriotic Australian” during an interview about 457 visas.