Govt “determined” to stick “head deep in the sand” on tech policy, says Atlassian founder


blog Much has been written about the general lack of understanding which Australia’s political sector has when it comes to setting good technology policy. But few have put it as bluntly as Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes did last week in an interview with Business Insider (we recommend you click here for the full article). The entrepreneur — who last year technically became a billionaire due to his company’s latest financing round — damned the Government on the issue stating:

“I think the Federal Government has its head so deep in the sand that it couldn’t see the opportunity … I don’t think they’re missing (it), I think they’ve completely missed it and they’re determined to avoid it.”

In my opinion, when you look at the overall trend, Cannon-Brookes is completely right. Successive Federal Governments — both Labor and Coalition — have ignored the huge opportunities offered by Australia’s burgeoning digital economy, locking the country out of the rightful place it should be taking as a global house of innovation and progressive thinking on economic development.

However, there have been some encouraging signs of late that this prevailing approach may be starting to change. The Government’s passing of the Employee Share Schemes legislation goes some way to addressing the complaints of Australia’s technology sector, and both Labor and the Coalition have been courting the sector of late. It will be interesting to see how things develop over the next several years.

Image credit: Aundray, Creative Commons


  1. All it would take to start would be some sort of technology institute to consider potential projects and outcomes from a technological point of view, and to figure what government support could and/or should be offered.

    We had a chance 15-20 years ago to redevelop an old powerstation here in Wollongong, with one of the ideas being to created a Silicon Valley type technology hub. Opportunity was lost, place was rebuilt as another power station, but if there had been some area to give an independent review of the potential, who knows what would have happened.

    Same with the NBN, cloud services, data services in general, and personal devices. Until there is some serious evaluation of what can be done in those spaces, we’re playing catchup versus the rest of the world.

    Instead, every opportunity gets turned into a political shitfight, and nobody wins.

    • Given everything is moving to the cloud (and at a rapid rate) then we as a nation have already lost. If you can find me one successful cloud service, US or otherwise, that isn’t billed out of Ireland as part of a double Irish – Dutch tax loophole, I’ll go he. Even if this country did produce a successful cloud service, it would be moved post haste to the British Virgin Islands or another tax haven, then billed out of Ireland to the rest of the world as soon as revenues hit the magic number where the added complexity cost less than the taxation.

    • Instead, every opportunity gets turned into a political shitfight, and nobody wins.

      Unfortunately, that’s happening in a lot of other policy areas besides Tech :(

      • Bipartisan and Compromise have become very dirty words since the current batch of Conservatives have decided that the Republican’s hard right way is the best way.

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