Startup News & Analysis

Shots fired between Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and Peter Dutton in aftermath of 457 visa changes: “Did I just get trolled”?

Dinushi Dias /

In the aftermath of the federal government’s abolishment of the 457 visa scheme, tech billionaire and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has taken to Twitter to defend his company against what he labelled as “bullshit” comments made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

On Channel Nine’s Today show on Wednesday morning, host Karl Stefanovic reeled Cannon-Brookes into the debate on the visa changes by quoting comments he made to The Australian about the importance of 457 visas back in 2016.

Read more: Startup sector enraged by scrapping of 457 visa: “We want these kind of innovators to continue to make Australia their home”

“He said to The Australian that 457 visas were essential for Australia and any move to make bridging the talent gap more difficult would be bad for the country,” Stefanovic said to Dutton on the show.

In response, Dutton questioned if Atlassian does anything good for local talent.

“How many young Australians are they employing?” Dutton said.

“Are they going into schools looking for young kids to come and work in jobs?

“Are they employing mature aged workers who have found themselves out of a job elsewhere? Let’s have a look at the details.”

In a series of tweets, Cannon-Brookes questioned if he was being “trolled” and explained Atlassian’s “default position” is to first find Australians to fill positions because it’s “cheaper and faster”. Only in the case when “experience required isn’t there”, he says, does the tech company look to the the 457 visa scheme, or “the new program” that will replace it.

After stating that Atlassian has created more than 1000 local jobs and run thousands of computer science classes for Australians while hiring hundreds of graduates in the country, Cannon-Brookes told Dutton to “#BringItOn”.

Cannon-Brookes also said he believes the new temporary visa scheme is “remarkably similar” to the 457 visas it’s replacing and may be “quite good”.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a journalist at StartupSmart and multimedia content producer. When she’s out of the office, she works on social projects with her We Love It Productions family and buddying filmmakers.

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