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Mike Cannon-Brookes hits back at Barnaby Joyce ‘bulls**t’ methane argument

Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has slammed the Deputy Prime Minister’s “bullsh**t” argument as he once again called on the Australian government to provide a detailed pathway to drive the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.

Speaking at the Daily Telegraph’s Bush Summit, the Atlassian co-founder faced off with Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in a heated discussion about the pathway to net zero by 2050, which was committed to by the government earlier this week in a 129-page plan currently headed to the Glasgow COP26 climate conference.

But, the plan has been met with criticism from many, including Mr Cannon-Brookes, who have questioned the substance of the plan, considering the use of “magical” future – and largely unspecified – technologies is a major component of the government’s plan; and the fact that modelling will not be released for weeks.

The debate came off the back of Mr Joyce confirming earlier this week that the agriculture industry would be exempt from driving methane emissions down by 2030 for fear of farmers otherwise needing to cull herd.

Bush Summit
Camera IconDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes discuss net zero. Toby Zerna Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Joyce said driving methane levels in the agriculture sector down within the next nine years would significantly harm farmers and the wider meat industry, as well as all other regional and rural Australians who live in tandem with the industry.

It’s an argument Mr Cannon-Brookes has slammed as “complete BS”.

“The Meat and Livestock Association is going to be net zero by 2030. The idea that we’re going to destroy the beef industry is bulls***, it has nothing to do with the issue,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said

“The good part about it, and there are things in the pamphlet that I agree with, is that we are covering all greenhouse gases, so I would ask the PM ‘how are we going to get methane down to zero’?

“Is it going to come at the expense of the gas industry or agriculture? Where is it going to come from? Because that’s what’s in the plan.

“I don’t understand the how. I don’t understand the details of where the methane is going to go.”

Mr Joyce reiterated that the plan would be out for the public’s consumption in the coming weeks.

Debate ensued later in the roundtable when Mr Joyce claimed that renewables were driving up electricity prices, which Mr Cannon-Brookes hit back at.

“Everyone rolls out and starts blaming renewables. It’s the same old, tired argument that doesn’t help us at all,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said.

“It’s not backed by facts, it’s not backed by economics, it’s not backed by science.”

In response, Mr Joyce said Mr Cannon-Brookes should “read your own facts”.

“I’ll send them through to you if you like,” he said.

Bush Summit
Camera IconMr Joyce told Mr Cannon-Brookes to ‘read the facts’. Toby Zerna Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Cannon-Brooke said he just wanted to see a plan, and that Australians deserved deadlines for the transition to net zero.

“That plan requires saying by this date, we’re going to do this in this industry in this area, here’s what it’s going to affect, here’s how it’s going to work and here’s how we’re going to prepare for that and here’s how we’re going to transition jobs, economies, regions, whatever it is,” he said.

“There’s none of that detail in the current plan… There’s no detail. There’s no actions, dates, science and economics that I Can believe in in the currently released documents.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier told the Bush Summit that the government’s plan for net zero “doesn’t force our farmers to do anything more than what you’re already going, and will choose to do in the future”.

“And we won’t be asking the states and territories to use their powers, under our plan for 2050, to regulate the way you use your land,” Mr Morrison said.

“We trust you as being the best stewards of your land.

“Our plan for net zero supports farmers to take advantage of new markets.”

Mr Morrison reiterated that the government’s plan wouldn’t put “jobs or industries at risk”, nor would it reduce competitiveness of exports.

“Under our plan the Government will not close on mine, one factory or one power plan or change the way farmers manage their land,” he said.

The signing off of the plan came after weeks of in-fighting between the Nationals over what sort of details that would agree to.

“We realised that if we didn’t come to a cabinet position there would be resignations… that would also probably lead to de-stabilisation in the government which no one likes… and we’d lose the election,” Mr Joyce said.

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