170: Australia is Back!
About this episode
Welcome to another episode of Outrage + Optimism.
As always, we examine issues at the forefront of the climate crisis, interview change-makers, and transform our anger into productive dialogue on building a sustainable future.
In this episode, co-hosts Christiana Figueres and Paul Dickinson are joined by guest co-host and friend Dean Bialek. Dean has worked on climate change for years in his native Australia, which is à propos considering the theme of today’s episode.
The team spends some time Down Under一well, proverbially speaking一conversing with Aussies-extraordinaire Zali Steggall, Oz’s most renowned international alpine skier, Teal Movement founder, and current independent member of the Australian Parliament for Warringah. You’ll also hear from Mike Cannon-Brookes, climate activist and co-founder and co-CEO of software juggernaut Atlassian Corporation Plc.
Our guests weigh in on Australia’s new government, its audacious climate bill, and how a nation chock-full of renewable resources (but historically low political will) could be ready to pivot to “climate superpower” status.
We also have an update on the Environmental Music Prize from founder Edwina Floch.
Dean starts with a bit of context for our upcoming interviews and states: “[Australia] is back.”
He’s referencing the decline of the two-party dominance in the current political system and the increased energy behind the climate action movement. Australia’s May 2022 election ushered in the first Labor Prime Minister in nearly a decade, Anthony Albanese, and the success of several independent (and first-time) candidates. These newcomers are Labor-leaning but imbue the party’s traditional blue tones with a heavy dose of green一a nod to their unique commitment to climate action一and the explanation behind the so-called teal movement.
“There is enormous potential and opportunity in the transition for Australia,” Dean says. "And if we don’t get on to it very quickly, we’re going to miss out.”
Paul and Christiana agree and query, could long-term thinking in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries finally be here?
Perhaps in some areas. But then Paul shares the tragic irony of Florida’s disastrous hurricane this week and Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent law requiring the state’s fund managers to prioritize high investment returns over environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations. It seems Florida may need to rethink its long-term thinking.
OK, on to the interviews!
INTERVIEW WITH ZALI STEGGALL, OLYMPIC ALPINE SKIER, TEAL MOVEMENT FOUNDER, AND CURRENT INDEPENDENT MEMBER OF THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT FOR WARRINGAH
First up, Christiana’s fascinating conversation with Zali Steggall begins with the Australian’s transformation from athlete to politician. Stegall was motivated to make a career transition by the lack of political action on several fronts, among them gender equity and climate change. Put another way, she was fed up! The two agree that Stegall’s shift into politics is part of a broader shift in Australian politics, marked by extensive grassroots efforts to move the nation forward and take action.
“[In the 2022 election] the Greens and independents took a huge part of the primary vote,” Stegall says. “That says a lot…[It’s] re-owning your vote.”
Christiana moves on to Australia’s Climate Change Bill 2022 and asks how Stegall positions the legislation given its significant achievements but substantive limits. While the legislation includes a pledge to cut carbon emissions by 43% over 2005 levels by 2030 (up from 27%), it doesn’t provide detail on how it would be accomplished. Nor does it include a ban on new fossil fuel projects.
Stegall contends that while the nation has legislated to join the race to reach net zero by 2050, it’s only at the start line. Still, she says, “[Australia’s] nationally determined contributions (NDCs) will be science-based on advice from the Climate Change Authority, not politically motivated targets…So that’s a really important part.” Bonzer! (That’s “Brill!” to us.)
The discussion shifts to the on-the-ground challenges of replacing the country’s massive fossil fuel export income and coping with increasing climate-driven living costs, to which Christiana says: “You have to substitute the income that comes from those very incumbent fuels, the export of those. But how do you balance that out? [I’d] invite you to go a little bit deeper on the cost of living…of these floods and fires. Is that not also on the balance sheet?”
It’s perhaps the question of the interview. Stegall talks more about Australia’s ongoing challenges: the growing uninsurable housing problem, its knock-on effects in the banking and mortgage markets, and even fears of food disruption. However, as always, optimism must be part of the solution. Stegall concludes with her vision for a transformed Australia, with opportunities for innovation, new markets, and industries grounded in fully renewable energies.
Speaking of optimism, the team checks in with their next guest, Mike Cannon-Brookes.
INTERVIEW WITH MIKE CANNON-BROOKES, CLIMATE ACTIVIST AND CO-FOUNDER AND CO-CEO OF SOFTWARE JUGGERNAUT ATLASSIAN CORPORATION PLC.
Indeed, Mike Cannon-Brookes is feeling, well, cautiously optimistic about Australia’s prospects for becoming a renewable superpower一maybe even by 2030. The new government appears determined to make changes that will have real impact. Take again, for example, passing the nation’s first climate change legislation in a decade. It’s a formidable move in the right direction.
Still, Cannon-Brookes holds no illusions.
“43[%] is not enough for Australia,” he says. “We should do a lot more as one of the wealthiest countries in the world.” He notes that other focus areas will include increasing electric vehicle (EV) sales targets to 10%, revamping the energy grid, exporting solar-powered electricity to Asia (via the Australia-Asia Power Link), and expanding home electrification. All good news.
Paul asks about policy consistency as government administrations change: “The transformation required in Australia, whether it’s electric vehicles, whether it’s solar, requires policy consistency over a long period of time. And that’s one thing Australia has not yet managed to deliver….How hopeful are you that this time is different?”
Cannon-Brookes contends that this time it does feel different. “Australia should be a winner,” he says, adding: “We literally should be the global winner of th[e] [decarbonized] world.” He details what a nation brimming with sunshine, wind, minerals, human talent, and a government mandate can do to make climate history.
The team says goodbye to Cannon-Brookes and reflects on Australia’s emergence as a potential climate action leader on the world stage. Still, as Christiana points out, “There is never any progress that is easy or straightforward.” She references the U.N.’s recent findings that Australia violated the rights of Indigenous Torres Strait Islanders for failing to adequately protect them against the adverse impacts of climate change.
They close the conversation with a bit of optimism一and a hot take: Australia is planning a bid to host COP29, the annual United Nations climate change conference scheduled for 2028. Yes, indeed, O+O listeners, you heard it here first! This will raise Australia’s international climate profile even more and could be the additional impetus to move it to superpower status sooner than ever.
Finally, we close with an update on the inaugural Environmental Music Prize, first introduced to listeners in Episode 150, from Founder Edwina Floch. Music ambassadors and environmental leaders from Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, and Green Music Australia had selected 24 finalists from more than 200, including some of Australia's top talent and emerging artists.
The winner, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, generously donated the $20,000 prize to the contest’s impact partner, the Wilderness Society. And luckily for us, KGLW also provides great sounds for this episode’s outro.
Enjoy, and we’ll see you next time!
NOTES AND RESOURCES
To learn more about our planet’s climate emergency and how you can transform outrage into optimistic action subscribe to the podcast here.
Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube
Congratulations to our musical guest and winner of the 1st Environmental Music Prize, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard!
Go watch their Prize-Winning Music Video “If Not Now, Then When” on YouTube
**Note from Clay** - It’s F***ing awesome
Listen more from the Environmental Music Prize and sign up for their newsletter to stay tuned for next year's prize!
Environmental Music Prize
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Check out Tom’s appearance on the Coliving Conversations podcast.
Learn more about Australia’s Climate Change Bill 2022
Learn more about the Australia Asia Powerlink by Sun Cable
Paul: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism. I'm Paul Dickinson.
Christiana: [00:00:16] I'm Christiana Figueres. And today we have a guest co-host.
Dean: [00:00:21] I'm Dean Bialek from Australia. Great to join you.
Paul: [00:00:24] Oh, huge thank you, Dean, for joining us as a co-host, replacing Tom, who is finishing his application to lead the World Bank. Wonderful to have you with us, Dean. Joining us again after, it was June, I think you were with us last time, and we're going deep diving in Australian this time with some fantastic interviews with Mike Cannon-Brookes and a mother of the Teal revolution, Zali Steggall. And we have music from the winner of the Australian Environmental Music Prize. Thanks for being here. So welcome to our listeners and welcome Dean.
Dean: [00:01:07] Thank you very much.
Christiana: [00:01:09] So listeners will remember that Dean joined us several months ago before the Australian election, and his voice was quite deep and concerned. But today I'm sure he's actually going to delight us with a singing voice because we have fantastic results from the Australian election. But listeners will also remember that we have been working with Dean for more years than I can possibly remember. And Dean, it is so delightful to have you on the episode. It's so good that Tom is off, as as Paul has explained, finishing his application to lead the World Bank.
Paul: [00:01:48] Strong contender.
Christiana: [00:01:48] And that means that we can have you today to actually walk us through deep dive on, not necessarily on the Australian election per se, because one of our one of our interviewees will be doing that. But to give us a context of what that actually means, what does the new government have in store for Australia? What does that mean for policy in Australia, both domestic and international? So, Dean, so wonderful to have you with us again.
Dean: [00:02:22] Thanks, Christiana. And just to correct something that you said earlier, we actually spoke just a few days after the election, votes were still being counted. But we do have a solid view at that time of what the outcome would be. Thankfully, the trends at the time continued. The centre left ALP managed to gather up enough seats to more than necessary to govern in their own right. So having a majority in the lower house, there was a decimation of the centre right, now only having 58 out of 151 seats. And the most striking aspect of the election, as we discussed at the time, was the emergence of the Teal candidates who swept up seven seats in Parliament total, six in the Lower House and one in the Senate. And as you said before, Paul, one of those was Zali Steggall, who was the pioneer till back in 2019 and really laid the foundations for the emergence of a very impressive cadre of women who have helped to bring climate action and climate concern to the top of the political agenda in Australia. A few very quick updates. One Since the election, the Government has managed to pass a climate change bill which enshrines in legislation the 43% reduction target by 2030 as well as the net zero by 2050 target. One of the most impressive aspects there was the taking on of a number of amendments by the Teals in Parliament, primarily to give a really big and solid role for the independent Climate Change Authority to give advice on targets in the future. The requirement for the responsible Minister to report back to Parliament once a year on progress against the targets. And thirdly, a process of broad consultation on the setting of future targets as well. That piece of legislation passed the both Houses of Parliament on the 8th of September and received Royal assent on the 13th. So he's now solid law in Australia for the first time. The second thing I think is some real.
Christiana: [00:04:42] For the first time, I have to say, Dean, I'm not sure if all listeners really appreciate what that little phrase means for the first time, solid climate legislation in Australia because it has been such a nightmare up and down, up and down. It's been like a seesaw for over a decade. And so the fact that we now have solid legislation in Australia makes a huge, huge difference, doesn't it, for both public and private sector. What what's the general mood, at least for those the majority of people in Australia? What is the general mood that this has elicited the fact that we have solid legislation on climate change for the first time in Australia?
Dean: [00:05:33] I think the overriding atmosphere is a sigh of relief that we now put behind us a really awful decade of political point scoring and ping pong on climate change policy. There's a real sense that we're now back in the game and can contribute to the global effort effectively and enthusiastically.
Paul: [00:05:57] Australia is back. We had Catherine McKenna on a while ago, just last week, and she was saying like the famous time when Canada is back. But Australia is back, right?
Paul: [00:06:06] Well maybe it was never there. It was kind of it's a bit of a complicated one, right?
Dean: [00:06:10] It is back. We have had kind of ambitious aspirations previously, but this is the first time we really had something concrete. It sends a powerful signal to the world that Australia now is treating its climate targets seriously and it sends a very important signal to the private sector. There's a degree of certainty about the trajectory we're on and many business leaders and investors have been very vocal about that already.
Paul: [00:06:41] I mean, I just I was wondering about this idea of kind of national maturity. I guess I was kind of reflecting that in my early twenties. I was a bit of a that wasn't quite doing very sensible things. My dear mother called me feckless. She said I wasn't really thinking about the future and I think she was right, actually. And I kind of became more responsible. And it seems that Australia may have been kind of mothered, if that's the right word, to the point where it's sort of reaching a level of emotional and cultural maturity. Is that a fair comment?
Dean: [00:07:11] Well, there are a couple of points I'd make. One is that the election of the Teals and their ability to break down the barrier of the two party dominance of the political system really speaks very loudly about the kind of bravery of the Australian electorate at this election and saying enough's enough. We're not willing for the status quo to continue anymore, particularly as regards climate. The other I think is the overtaking of the previous very negative narrative around climate action, basically pitting against one another economic growth or economic prosperity on the one hand, and climate action on the other. I think the success in this election was the emergence of the narrative that there is enormous potential and opportunity in the transition for Australia. And if we don't get on to it very quickly, we're going to miss out.
Paul: [00:08:04] Yeah. No, I mean, I was actually listening to Dean talking a little bit about how political leaders generally don't seem to be able to communicate a vision more than three years in the future. I mean, are we starting to see perhaps an emergence of a of a possible real, real kind of long term thinking in an OECD democracy, which we seem to be a bit short of?
Dean: [00:08:22] Well, I would say that goes right to the crux of political leadership. What does leadership mean? It doesn't just mean political point scoring over a short election cycle, but rather setting an agenda and a vision for the country over the foreseeable future and into the distance. All of these things, particularly a major economic transformation, requires decades of planning, preparation and then implementation. And if you don't set the vision, you ain't going to get there.
Paul: [00:08:52] Very true.
Christiana: [00:08:53] So, Paul and Dean, this is all so exciting what is brewing in Australia. And of course, this has implications both for public policy as well as for private investment and opportunities there in Australia. And I think we're so lucky today to have a voice for each. We have a voice for public policy with the voice of Zali Steggall and a voice for the private sector reaction with Mike Cannon-Brookes. Shall we go to our first interview?
Paul: [00:09:28] Yes, yes, let's do that. But just before we do, Christiana and Dean, I just wanted to sort of share like the most, I think, tragic irony with our with our dear listeners. And that is I know we will all have been moved by the terrible tragedy in Florida, this unimaginable storm that's that's killed, you know, a lot of people and ruin the lives of of hundreds of thousands in many way touching millions of people. And people were boarding up their houses and their homes and now they're now they're beginning to kind of rebuild. But actually, in the Florida State Board of Administration, I fear that they are now going to have to be covering their windows up. And that is because on the subject of government leadership, you may be aware that the governor of of Florida, Ron DeSantis, passed a law in August this year and where he said that he directed the fund managers of Florida State, the state fund managers who look after the money for for the state of Florida to prioritize the highest returns of on investment without considering the ideological agenda of the environmental, social and corporate governance movement. So I fear that they're going to have to cover up the windows now in the Florida State Board of Administration in case they look out at the terrible, shocking impact of the storm and somehow consider climate change in their investments, because the governor of of Florida has said that's against the law. And and you know what I'm trying to point out here, the utter madness and the crazy irony of of what what can be the last gasp of of conservatism in the face of the sort of duties of of administrators in response to climate change.
Christiana: [00:11:25] Well, and to complement that, Paul, I don't know if everyone saw the news of how many unnecessary deaths occurred in Florida because there was such a delay and in fact a refusal to evacuate certain areas that were absolutely predicted to be hit. And because climate change doesn't exist, quote unquote, a total refusal to evacuate people and hence unnecessary deaths. So, yes, it's not just about deaths in the future. It's about deaths today. So irresponsible.
Paul: [00:11:59] Well, going from the the the worst of the politics of the past, do we have an insight into the best of the politics of the future?
Christiana: [00:12:07] We do indeed. We do, indeed. Thank you for taking us there, Paul. So we are so thrilled to have been able to chat briefly to Zali Steggall, who is not just an Australian politician now, she was originally and catch this an Olympic alpine skier, which is no small feat if you come from Australia.
Paul: [00:12:34] It's just kind of surfing with snow, I reckon.
Christiana: [00:12:36] Yeah, I mean it's pretty, pretty determined, let's say. So an Olympic alpine skier then turned lawyer and then turned politician, thank heavens turned politician because she was an independent member for Warringah. And my my particular thrill of her is that in 2019, in the Australian federal election, she defeated the incumbent former prime minister Tony Abbott. Who is one of my absolute favorite Australian politicians since and Dean might remember this on one of my visits to Australia. He reacted to one of my TV interviews about the relationship between climate change and the Australian wildfires, and he publicly said Christiana Figueres is talking out of her hat. Now of course I had no idea what that meant, but I found out later from my Australian friends that that means in Australia that you have no idea what you're talking about. So I felt so complimented by Tony Abbott and I thought, well, that's an interesting way of reacting to the very obvious relationship between increasing temperature and wildfires. And I must say since then I received as gifts several hats of people who were thrilled about his his way of expressing his displeasure about climate science.
Paul: [00:14:08] Anyway, no hat ever spoke better, although it wasn't really until I had the privilege of interviewing her. It was only you. Unfortunately, Christiana, I'm a very jealous. Very jealous.
Christiana: [00:14:16] So there we are. I should yeah.
Dean: [00:14:18] I should say also that you responded immediately by wearing a famous Australian hat an Akubra and in delivering a keynote speech at Sydney Town Hall at the invitation of Clover Moore.
Christiana: [00:14:34] Indeed, indeed.
Paul: [00:14:36] The impudence.
Christiana: [00:14:37] See those? Those are the. The fun moments of working on climate. Yes, indeed. Indeed. Well, fast forward here we are, defeated Minister Tony, a Prime minister, Tony Abbott, but even even more so, the new government with Zali Steggall so exciting to. She was one of the founders of the Teal candidates. She was already in Parliament before. She is the person who originally introduced the climate change bill in November of 2020 and she just continues to, frankly, to rock it. She is such a rock star and we're just so delighted to have her on the podcast today for a few minutes of conversation. Shall we listen to that?
Paul: [00:15:32] Let's hear from Zali.
Christiana: [00:15:38] Zali, Good morning to me and good afternoon to you. Thank you so much. Thank you for for taking very treasured time off to join us here on Outrage + Optimism.
Zali Steggall: [00:15:50] Oh, thank you for having me.
Christiana: [00:15:52] And Zali, well, no, we're really delighted. I must say. We have been pursuing you since the election. That's why we're so happy to finally to finally have you. But but let's talk about that election Zali, you personally, you've gone from being alpine skier to lawyer to politician and to change maker, which is where you are right now. Quite a story. And that is in parallel to the impressive story of all the other tales. It is it's not a story that one is used to women basically coming out of the woodwork saying enough is enough. We're now going to put the house in order. How did this happen?
Zali Steggall: [00:16:37] Look, it is a very interesting story. Australian politics has been stuck, I think, in the past, fairly patriarchal, not very good gender equity levels and very dysfunctional when it's come to climate change and climate policy very adversarial as well. And I think when I came into politics in 2019, it was to defeat Tony Abbott, the ex-prime minister, who had been very, very, I guess, disruptive on climate policy in Australia. I can say, to put it mildly, I'm being very politically correct and it's a question I think I'm not a politician, right? I am not a career politician, but I think I, like so many others in our community and around the world, have had enough of people in position of power being aware of the facts and the science, but ignoring them for vested interest and other decisions. So I felt strongly that I couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer. I had to take whatever action I could, and that was to enter politics and give voters a different choice of representation. And that was successful in 2019. And we've seen it grow into a much greater movement now in Australia with the 2022 election with a really, you know, a third of the primary vote in Australia at the last election was for minor parties or independents. So the Greens and independents took a huge part of the primary vote. That says a lot. I think that is a really strong message for leadership around the world that we've communities mobilize and want to bring about change. You can do it.
Christiana: [00:18:25] Well and it's such an inspiring story because you basically came in to to challenge the age old party system. And I would say this is this is grassroots leadership. This is mostly women coming out and and saying that that's it. We're fed up with leadership that is not leading and we're just going to step in. It is such an inspiring story because so many countries are really so stuck in this two party system. Have you had reactions from other countries being inspired by this story?
Zali Steggall: [00:19:04] Look, I have had people in the UK and the US get in touch to understand just how the community movement has worked and what it takes to be successful. I mean, what's interesting is it's not just about the candidates and now MPs, professional women who have left successful careers to come and give back to their communities and represent sensible politics, I think is what I would call it in terms of addressing some of the big problems and agendas that we have, like gender equity, climate change policy. These are things that we're all tired of. There's been too much talk and not enough action. So but it's also the communities. So one of the things these campaigns have had is thousands of people within the community prepared to doorknock and do letterbox drops and carry signs and talk to people. So this very much has galvanised people in our communities who want to see change, and we are all in it together. I think it's a real re-empowering of politics and you know, re-owning your vote.
Christiana: [00:20:13] Re-owning your vote. Well, speaking about votes, let's talk about the climate change bill, which of course the world has celebrated quite, quite an achievement on the part of all of you but wonderful as it is. How do you position it? Certainly with respect to what Australia did not have in the past, but also with respect to what we all ought to be doing? Where does it fall?
Zali Steggall: [00:20:41] Yeah, look, we know the world is in a race to net zero to keep global warming as close to 1.5 degrees as possible. I would say the Australian Government. Australia is now on the start line of that race. We've legislated net zero by 2050 and a process of a science based process to advise government on reporting on how our emissions reduction is going, but also how future NDCs for the Paris Agreement, our nationally determined contributions will be determined by the government of the day and making sure that they are science based on advice from the Climate Change Authority, not politically motivated targets, because they're weighing up which community and which vote they're trying to keep. So that's a really important part. Of course, I had introduced a climate change bill modelled on the UK's Climate Change Act in the last Parliament, which was more ambitious. I wanted to see 60% emissions reduction by 2030 and much clearer frameworks. But look, the Labor Government is not as ambitious. They've only committed to 43% by 2030, which is a start, like I said.
Christiana: [00:21:57] Which is much better than the 26 that we had. Much better.
Zali Steggall: [00:22:03] I know you have to take every little game you can in.
Christiana: [00:22:07] Every game that you get.
Zali Steggall: [00:22:08] Absolutely! Importantly, it puts us on the start line and it sets in place the tone for what needs to happen next. Now, we have to be frank, though. The government is still approving fossil fuel projects, coal mines and gas exploration. So there is a lot of public pressure on the government to stop doing that because we can't. It's very inconsistent for the government to, on the one hand commit to strong action, but on the other continue putting fuel on the fire, literally. So we have to be the pressure from communities is very strong and the election process is a really important part of it because you will see more and more independents get voted in. I think if the government fails to be consistent with its commitment on climate.
Christiana: [00:22:57] But it is a very real challenge that Australia has, is being one of the major exporters of coal LNG in the world. It is a major challenge for the Government to figure out how do they substitute the income from coal should they begin to to cut down on that and on the question of residences and homes? Zali, I have been talking to insurance companies for years and they have been warning us for years that if we ever go to a world that goes beyond two degrees, that we will be in a situation of systemic uninsurability. That means no insurance available to anyone anywhere, which is a very scary thought. But Australia is already a microcosm of that, is it not? There are already homes that are uninsurable, mostly, I think, because of flooding rather than fires, which is what we outside of Australia hear most about. But flooding is just as damaging, has made many areas uninsurable and has made it, has forced those people who would otherwise not be able to afford a home to go to those areas, buy a home, but then they can never get out. Then they're stuck because no one wants to buy those homes because they're not insurable. How are you managing that?
Zali Steggall: [00:24:35] It is, and it's not something that the government has a good plan in place yet. And we need to have this conversation. And I think it's around the world. But we know global global warming will impact, has socio-economic impacts and we know the poorest populations will be the most impacted. It's the same, I think, in every country and in every community. So what we've seen in Australia is the too much development on floodplains, which then obviously is the increased risk of flooding at the moment is really being accentuated. Obviously climate has changed, our weather patterns are changing, the rainfall is significantly different at the moment and we've got much greater flooding and repeated flooding like these are not one in 100 year floods, These are one in three month floods. Yes. So it's having a huge impact and absolutely. So they're uninsurable and then they will be. Banks will not be able to lend for mortgages because without insurance, it's simply it's too much risk on a lending portfolio. So the consequences are really starting to multiply at the moment. And there is still not, I would say, a clear plan from government.
Zali Steggall: [00:25:52] We still have a very reactive response from government. So an emergency occurs and there is a rollout of an emergency emergency package, but not really a forward planning for what are we going to do for the future as this problem gets worse because we know we've baked a certain amount of there's a certain amount of warming locked in because we've failed to act with enough urgency on emissions reduction. And so we are still on a pathway of accelerating consequences. So we need to put in place a plan to deal with that as well as mitigating the problem and obviously reducing emissions. And I think the cost ratio of these effects as they start to become very real, the cost of resilience building, responding to disaster starts to really far outweigh the cost of transition. Actually, we know transition is an opportunity cost. It's not a cost. It's a there's opportunity there for new new markets and new industries. But that helps accelerate political will, which has been the biggest problem in Australia, is the lack of political will.
Christiana: [00:27:02] Absolutely. But we just love to hear and thank you very much for for all the time that you have shared with us. I would love to hear your view on what do you think is possible over over the next, let's call it over the next decade Zali? Because I think we all look back at the past nightmare climate decade in Australia and hence we would love to see a decade that is quite different. So what do you think is possible? What are your what's your vision there?
Zali Steggall: [00:27:37] Look, my vision is that we are going to start grappling and pulling our weight worldwide of what we need to do. We need to start being we need to acknowledge the global being a global citizen and the impact our exports have. Right. The problem at the moment, the way the Paris Agreement and everything is framed is you only have to worry about what's your domestic contribution. But the reality is our global carbon markets don't differentiate with borders, impacts, global warming impacts don't differentiate. And so we have to think of ourselves as part of a global economy or a global budget of carbon, and we are contributing to it a lot. So we have to transition our exports, I think. But I am hopeful. I'm optimistic because when you think of where the conversation has already moved in the last three years with the election of Biden in the US, right, that has changed the course of what was happening there. We've had the change in Australia that is definitely changing the course of what Australia is doing. Of course you have disruptions like the war in Ukraine is this can be a setback in some ways, but it can also be an accelerator because ultimately the one way every country can have sovereignty around their energy production is through renewables. And so I think it hopefully can accelerate that transition to clean energy and more sustainable systems, which I think is really important. We've had a very weird couple of years with COVID, but I'm optimistic that we've seen now when we mobilise and we tackle a problem from a global point of view, we absolutely can do it. So we now need to just we need to tackle this head on. And if the political class, the traditional political class, is not willing to find the political will communities. Need to step up and put forward different alternatives. And in Australia that has been through independent candidates and minor parties and I think we need to see that happen in more countries around the world.
Christiana: [00:29:47] Well, fantastic. I wanted to say amen, but my daughter's always correct me to say, no, it's not amen, it's a awomen.
Zali Steggall: [00:29:55] True, women traditionally care the most about climate, and so have had enough and don't share the power dynamic enough, especially in Australia. And so it is exciting in the Australian Parliament now, having so many professional women who are very much prepared to stand up and step forward and put forward solutions. So it's a very different Australian Parliament this time.
Christiana: [00:30:25] Well, how fantastic. Well, we're very happy for you. We're actually very, very grateful to all of you who have stepped up and taken on such a huge challenge. So thank you very much. Zali, thank you to you. Thank you to all the other Teals who truly are an inspiration to everyone else around the world in so many different ways. And we will definitely be with you. We will be following the good work that you are doing and and celebrating that a new a completely new and different Australia will be coming to the COP this year.
Zali Steggall: [00:31:05] And we will be pushing our government to become more ambitious than what it currently have. So there is a constant reminder for them.
Christiana: [00:31:15] Thank you so much, Zali. Thank you.
Zali Steggall: [00:31:18] Thank you. Bye. Good to see you. Bye.
Christiana: [00:31:27] So what an amazing woman and an Olympic alpine skier and frankly, an Olympic politician. What did you all leave that conversation with?
Dean: [00:31:38] So a couple of things, Christiana, are really great to is that he speaks so passionately about the work that she's done and her vision for the future. I think what really struck a chord with me is that while this climate change bill has now passed, a lot of the heavy lifting and work still remains to be done. So there's area, for example, to achieve the new government's renewable energy target of 82% by 2030. That's a 250% increase in the share of renewables on the main grid by 2030. No small feat. We need to have vehicle emission standards in place and we need to accelerate the big renewable energy hubs that can fuel the green hydrogen expansion over the coming years as well. So a hell of a lot of work to do despite the victories of recent months.
Paul: [00:32:33] Yeah, I mean, I think she's just such an inspiration. There were quite a few things I picked up that she'd spoken about. First of all, that she'd had enough of people in positions of power ignoring facts to support vested interests. And so she's had to take whatever action she could. And yeah, she she defeated Tony Abbott, who was, I think, one of the only politicians in the world to ever repeal a carbon tax. So thank you for that. Absolutely vital. I'm so inspired by professional women having the courage to leave successful careers and go into government supporting what she said was a science based process of of advising government and getting reporting working. And but she said, just as you've said, Dean, that we still have government approving new fossil fuel projects. So insofar as Australia is a sort of a kind of test tube for what can how a democracy can kind of turn, you know, the project isn't complete yet, far from it. But, you know, she's looking at these major issues. Mentioning insurance, I think is incredibly important. And and above all, I think what I was most touched by is her talking about Australia being a world citizen and seeing ourselves as part of a global carbon budget and therefore looking at the exports of the country, really inspiring leadership from such a mature, thoughtful and heartfelt leader. I mean, just a final thing was when she said when politicians won't do it, communities need to. Sorry, Christiana.
Christiana: [00:33:55] Well, exactly where I was going. Thank you for that. So I definitely agree, Dean, And you're much better informed than we are about how much work still remains to be done. But I am particularly inspired exactly by what Paul just said, that where politicians fail, communities have to stand up. That is the tagline of the Teal Independents, right? They are not affiliated to a political party. They have basically stepped out of the party system to say enough of this binary politicisation of climate change. Let's really hear it from from the public sentiment, from communities, from real people on the streets who are so concerned about this. I just think that is so inspirational because this bipartisan paralysis that we have in so many countries is just never going to get us anywhere. And so I just think that the Teal independents have been it's certainly inspirational for for Australia, but beyond Australia, really giving a very strong example of how we can no longer operate here as members of a political party, but rather as citizens of a country and global citizens of our planet, just absolutely the right way to go.
Paul: [00:35:19] Well, one great Australian to another.
Christiana: [00:35:22] Oh, sorry, sorry. Were you turning over to Dean?
Paul: [00:35:26] I said from one great Australian to another.
Christiana: [00:35:28] Oh, yes. Okay.
Paul: [00:35:30] So smooth, so professional. We're useless without Tom. Tom is basically our whole punctuation system with him gone because John and I just basically my fault. My bad.
Christiana: [00:35:40] No, that's okay. That's okay.
Clay: [00:35:41] Yeah. Moving on.
Christiana: [00:35:43] Yeah, exactly. That's what I was trying to do. So we're delighted today to have some time with Mike Cannon-Brookes. He is the co founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, a collaboration software company that he started, of course, in a garage right after he finished university. Just like so many of the other big tech billionaires today, NASA, Tesla and SpaceX are customers of Atlassian, but not happy with that. Mike has been for many years one of the most vocal advocates in Australia for reducing its reliance on fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy. And he has not just been a very adamant advocate. He's backed up his aspiration with his own very impressive capital. He's the owner of a venture capital firm. He has a green fund, all of which is to encourage and support Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower by 2030, which is his dream. He also invested in the Sun Cable project, which is get ready for this, a project that is going to build a solar and battery farm, 12,000 hectares of it. That is for those of you who think in kilometres, that is 120 square kilometres in size and then hook it up to an underwater power cable to take clean electricity to Singapore. Not a small feat. But then Mike Cannon-Brookes is not a small thinker nor a small entrepreneur. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to speak to Mike. Oh yes. And I should add that recently he has been quite a bit in the news because of his very unusual but very adamant efforts to move AGL, one of Australia's largest energy companies, out of coal. And there is news on that one. So have a listen. Load More
Paul: [00:38:04] The enlightened billionaire. Let's go to the interview.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:38:11] Morning. Evening. Afternoon.
Paul: [00:38:13] Hey, Mike.
Christiana: [00:38:15] Mike, when you are in Australia you don't know what to say at the beginning of a conversation.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:38:20] Well, I know, I know. It's evening for. For me, it's 1015. I know. An hour. It's 5 a.m.. So I assume you guys are somewhere in the middle. So I was trying to use the full range. Yeah, that was the.
Christiana: [00:38:31] Range. It's the full range. Mike, thank you so much for joining us on Outrage + Optimism and what is already deep into the hours of the night for you in Australia. So thanks. Thanks for that.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:38:43] No worries.
Christiana: [00:38:44] Mike, well, you know, you have your hands into so many levers of transformation in Australia because you are since since I met you, I don't know how many years ago you have really had one focus. How do we turn Australia into being a renewable energy superpower? And now you've even put a date on it, which is 2030. So we're delighted about that. I would love to hear from you on on especially now that we have a new government. How optimistic are you that we will be able to recoup the lost time domestically for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:39:26] Or the recouping of lost time is a tough one, but I'm certainly more optimistic than I was two years ago, put it that way or a year ago. We're doing a lot of work here on electric vehicles. We are very hopeful of having some real fuel efficiency standards to get us to and beyond. 10% of new vehicle sales, which is the real tipping point. If you look at every other geography in the world, we have relatively cheap electricity here. We are entirely oil dependent nation, which is ludicrous that we have so many petrol and diesel powered vehicles because 100% of oil is imported. And so it is it is a big problem. We are going from near standing start. I think we're at roughly 1% of vehicles sold, maybe not even at the moment. So we have a long way to go there. In terms of electric vehicles, the election will really change things. I hope so. We are both the independents that got in on various climate change agendas. I'd say the one thing they all are directionally lined on is climate change and taking real action and Australia's opportunity in decarbonisation.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:40:33] Otherwise they come from all sorts of different places and they have some very different policies on other areas. That's fine, but hopefully they hold the Government to account. The new government is also much more determined to make some change. So we've increased our, you know, nationally determined contributions, our target from 27% emissions reduction to 43. 43 is not enough for Australia. We should do a lot more one of the wealthiest countries in the world and and we hope it keeps ticking up. The next stage on EVs is to get some real fuel efficiency standards and to start changing a whole lot of things in manufacturing. We've got a lot of work to do when home electrification, we've got a lot of work to do in continually revamping our grid. We've got a lot of work to do in corporate standards and still very poor on a global sense in terms of directives and responsibilities for corporations. So there's no shortage of work to do and we're trying to do it as rapidly as we can.
Christiana: [00:41:33] And Mike, given that the current bill doesn't really cover private sector. Do you think there's enough of an incentive for the private sector to do even half of what you've just put out there?
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:41:49] I think you have to divide it into different areas so more Australians per capita sleep under a solar panel than any other country on earth. That's because it's cheaper, literally because it's cheap. We have one of the cheapest.
Christiana: [00:42:01] That's the best incentive.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:42:03] It's the best incentive. It's pure economics. So a lot of the country is highly irradiated. It's relatively cloudless and hence and we have generally a lot of space. Australia is a very non dense country, lightly populated, the most likely the least densely populated national capital, I believe in the world is Canberra. So that means houses are built horizontally, not vertically. So you got a lot of roof space as well, which is why currently the payback period on household solar panels is about four years if you pay for them cash. So a 20 year asset that pays back in four years.
Christiana: [00:42:40] Four years!
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:42:41] A very good deal, hence why you have a lot of people. At one stage we had more residential batteries installed in Australia than in the rest of the world. For a little while early on. I think we're probably not quite there yet, but per capita, I wouldn't be surprised.
Christiana: [00:42:54] With per capita, you still number one?
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:42:57] Yes. And we have huge financial resources. Right. We don't have particularly good on a global standard, corporate rules, regulations and other things. And we have pretty weak standards on things like net zero, a lot of a lot of net-zero pledges flying around. Those pledges usually aren't worth the paper they're written on for most, especially large corporations, especially those obviously in the fossil fuel industry and other areas that they're very, very weak on the actual no science based targets, nothing substantial behind them, accounting standards. There's a lot of work we could do there as well. So well behind areas like Europe in a lot of those areas domestically.
Christiana: [00:43:37] Go ahead.
Paul: [00:43:37] Mike. I want to just ask you a very high level question. This has been great going into the details of these things. But what you talked about there, the transformation that's required in Australia, whether it's electric vehicles, whether it's solar, requires policy consistency over a long period of time. And that's one thing Australia has not yet managed to deliver. We've gone back and forth with different governments. How hopeful are you that this time is different?
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:43:58] Pretty hopeful, actually. I generally think the government we have now seem to get it. They were elected on a much more of a popular climate mandate. Again, you know, taking action on climate change has an 80 plus per cent sort of if you survey the broad population support rate here. So that is changing. We are also suffering some major effects of climate and have been for a number of years now. We've had lots of terrible floods. Some people's houses have been flooded three times this year already the same house. We've had devastating bushfires since two years ago, increasing damage from hurricanes and and floods that they bring in terms of flash floods rather than just deluge floods. So, you know, we are greatly at risk and I think people see that as a country. And there's general popular movement towards doing something. The current government has a mandate and so I'm hopeful they push through. I'm incredibly optimistic. Australia has just such a huge opportunity in a decarbonised world. Australia should be a winner. We literally should be the global winner of of that world. And we are among many trying to tell a very positive narrative about Australia's opportunity from decarbonisation to kind of get ahead of that curve and play some of that catch up role.
Christiana: [00:45:23] Talk to us now a little bit, Mike, about how do we substitute that dependency that Australia has had for years and the argument that we've heard from so many Australian governments, it is impossible to move away from coal. We depend on coal. We have to stick by with coal, coal and LNG. I mean they have been, you know, really, really, really adamant about that. So I would love to hear your your totally different vision of how do we substitute that dependence and how do we begin closing coal and opening up green hydrogen. Would love to hear where you are with your undersea cable and where you see lithium going. What is the prospect for substituting the really enslaving dependence on coal and LNG?
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:46:13] Look, the possibility for substituting is incredibly good. We have to look at it in two ways. So do we have other things that we could be exporting? Yes. Australia is an export economy, very small population, 25 million people or about 0.3% of the world's population, 0.3% of the world's population. If you want a nice map with a 0.3% of the world's population, 1.6% of the world's emissions, one of the highest emitting countries per capita, and that's before you count exports. When we jump to almost 5% of the world's emissions come from Australia. Which is vast.
Christiana: [00:46:49] 5% of the world's emissions come from Australia's coal base.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:46:54] If you can explain, I believe it's almost 5% yes. We're the third largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world, number one or two in the world for coal, number one or two in the world for gas, depending on how you count it. Not much oil, but it's basically those two. It's Saudi Arabia, Russia and Australia, which is why we all teamed up in Madrid. It's a team you don't want to be on. The optimism is that we also have 3 billion consumers to the north. We have massive amount, insane amount of resources. We're spoiled with a lucky country. We always have been. And I mean that straight out. Not ironically, in terms of talent. We have a massive amount of engineering talent, project talent, technical talent, financial talent. We have a huge amount of finance resources. We have the fifth largest capital market in the world in Australia. We have a huge amount of mineral resources, so rocks in the ground of basically everything you need to make renewables. In terms of major material inputs from rare earths all the way through to lithium and copper and nickel and silver and everything. We also obviously have an insane amount of sun and wind, right? We are pretty much the sunniest continent anywhere on an average basis. We are the sunniest country outside sub-Sahara. We have a huge amount of wind thanks to the trade winds in the Indian Ocean. So resource wise, every which way.
Christiana: [00:48:22] We have everything.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:48:24] We should be absolutely blessed by our position in the world. So I like to think about it that Australia has exported energy for the last 50 years and we will continue to export energy for the next 50 years. We just exported in a different form. There are three major ways Australia will export energy. I believe the first is directly via via wire, by cable. Again, Indonesia up and beyond into South-East Asia. We have about a billion consumers we can easily access, easily we can access with today's technology in terms of high voltage DC, it's highly efficient, very little losses and connects to the desert in the north of Australia, which has a massive amount of sun, hasn't seen a cloud since 1973 and is it's just a huge opportunity. That's exactly what we're trying to do with the Australia-Asia Powerlink, which is the first cable produced by a company called Sun Cable that I am the chair of now and a heavy investor in. It's a huge opportunity for Australia, but it's only one of the opportunities we're building. The world's largest solar farm in the Northern Territory, connected to the world's largest battery, about 40 gigawatt hours and connecting to about a three and a half thousand kilometre undersea high voltage DC cable to provide roughly 20% of Singapore's power supply 100% renewably by 2030.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:49:47] Second is, as you mentioned, green hydrogen and the various materials around that ammonia, etc. because we have such a huge potential supply of renewable energy here, you get a lot of cheap energy during the day, very cheap. Quite often the price of power nowadays in Australia is negative during the day. That means you get paid to use energy and exporting energy costs you money. That means you don't have enough consumption of power during the day often. And the more we can consume that power, the more we'll build out incredible amounts of renewable resources to consume more of that power. It's a virtuous loop. If we can get it going, that cheap power will turn into hydrogen, ammonia, etc. through electrolysis, which will provide hydrogen to a lot of the world that will have hydrogen based economies. Again, Singapore, as an example, close to us, their second greatest source of power will probably be hydrogen powered gas plants in the future after direct current imports. The third way Australia will export energy is just higher valued manufactured goods. We have a huge potential to export higher value manufactured goods, which is effectively exporting energy because we have extremely cheap energy and we could have even cheaper energy and therefore that's the third way we'll export.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:51:05] So you can think about that as instead of exporting bauxite, we'd export aluminium instead of iron ore, we'd export steel ore instead of lithium, copper, nickel, we export batteries. So there's a huge potential in a lot of those areas for Australia to export. We should be a renewable energy superpower. It should power the future of the Australian economy. I think it's the greatest economic opportunity our country has ever seen and we should be really, really leaning into it before someone else is making those batteries or that green steel, etc.. Well, the outrage, if you want to add one at the moment, is that we are opening huge new gas fields at the moment and continuing to try to as a country and some of those gas fields will you know, the size of them is vast, right? Two or three huge, vast gas basins that could add massive amounts to Australia's emissions just in terms of production of the gas, let alone someone else somewhere else doing something with the gas, presumably burning it. Huge optimism for Australia, huge opportunity, but also still some big, big work.
Christiana: [00:52:10] A lot of work.
Paul: [00:52:13] Mike, I know that we're at the end, but one last question. We have a lot of people listening to this podcast who really want to take action. You have such insight, logic and force. What advice do you have for this growing climate change movement?
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:52:28] Look, my biggest piece of advice is to educate yourselves and others. I'm a deep believer that a broadly educated population who understands all of the issues, all of the puts and takes, will make the right sets of trades for the long term future of the planet their community, their country, their organization, whatever it is. So the best thing I could advise you to do is to be as educated as you can on all of the issues. And I don't mean just what does CO2 do when it gets into the atmosphere, the forces, the pushes, the pulls, the systems that are holding things back, the stocks and flows. If you're educated and you understand all of that, you can start finding real strategic changes to to to bring about changes to those systems that that would be the biggest thing the biggest thing, educate yourselves and talk to other people. And if I had a second one, it would be take care of your mental health. Yeah. No, it's a very, very, very tough space to be in. Yes, absolutely. A lot of people in the Australian climate movement, you know, some form of depression. I don't mean that in a clinical I'm not a psychologist, but like they go into dark periods because it can be really, really, really hard. And we've had a bloody tough ten years down here. And, you know, to take time to take care of yourself, you can't can't be taking care of the planet if you're, you know, not taking care of yourself.
Christiana: [00:53:51] A wreck yourself. No, absolutely.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:53:53] Yeah. Spend a little bit of time to do that and realise that we'll be fighting tomorrow and we'll do it. And there's a lot of a lot of other people alongside you and, you know, try to about the winds as they come along, that sort of thing because it's, it's a big, it's a big journey. It's an important one we're on, but it's a big journey. It's hard.
Christiana: [00:54:10] Great advice. Great advice. Well, so on behalf of all three of us, Mike, thank you so, so much. It is it's so refreshing to hear your vision of the future and may all the winds blow in that direction. Thank you so, so much.
Mike Cannon-Brooks: [00:54:27] Thank you all. Thanks for having me.
Clay: [00:54:28] Thanks.
Paul: [00:54:29] See you again. Great to see you, Mike. Thank you.
Christiana: [00:54:37] So what an incredible person. And Dean works pretty closely with him. I had the pleasure of meeting him on one of my Australian trips. But Dean, perhaps over to you who knows him and his aspirations and ambitions best, What can you share about the context in which Mike is operating and what levers is he pulling in order to get to his vision as quickly as possible?
Dean: [00:55:07] Yeah, well, clearly Mike is very well connected politically and very much so also in the investment investor and financial world. I suppose the real message that I got from the interview is that whilst there is progress and a much better atmosphere following the last election, it is still the case that there's no moratorium in Australia on the approval of new oil and gas or even coal mine projects. And so really it is left to the market and the big players in the investment world to try and drive the transition with the ambition that the that is implicit in the targets that the new government has set. And so I think Mike, both domestically and internationally, is trying to lead the way through his investments. So one is the Sun Cable Project, which is a massive solar array in the Northern Territory with a cable going up to Singapore through Indonesia to take renewable energy. He's recently also a major investor in AGL, Australia's biggest power producer and emitter, traditionally very much based on coal power production. But he's now forced a ousting of the previous board and a strategic reorientation of the business in favour of a renewables uptake trajectory. In particular, it was announced by the new chair of the board last week that AGL will now phase out its last and largest coal power plant, Loy Yang, by 2035. That also has been equalled by the Sunshine State, Queensland also saying that it's going to phase out coal by 2035. So it'd be really interesting to see how quickly AGL moves the dollars required and some put it at $20 Billion to completely reorient their energy settings. His investment decisions and the momentum he is building is having an effect not only in the business but in the public sector as well.
Paul: [00:57:25] Yeah, and I mean, I was looking at. A statement from the new chair of AGL, Patricia Mackenzie, and she said something fascinating. She said this strategic direction was sharing today for the faster decarbonisation of our business is what we consider to be in the best interests of the company, having listened to our stakeholders, in particular our shareholders, and it is what our community expects of us and it is above all the right thing to do. And I just love to see corporate democracy in action. I love to see the chair of a major company speaking like a salesperson, you know, regarding their broader responsibilities. That's incredibly exciting. And just to say, hearing Mike speak, about 20% of Singapore's electricity coming from Australia by cable by 2030, talking about hydrogen and ammonia take advantage of very cheap power in Australia. It's inspiring. And you get a real sense that that, you know, are necessary, dreams are achievable. And finally, it's very folksy, sensible advice to to educate yourself, your friends, your communities, and to take care of yourself on this very long marathon that is not a sprint. What great advice.
Christiana: [00:58:40] So just so that we have both sides of the argument here, it is quite inspiring what is happening in Australia. And to to the good news, I would add that Origin Energy, one of Australia's largest energy companies, has pulled out of a huge fracking project in the Northern Territory and is at a loss to them because of criticism from environmental campaigners. So one could argue that the tide truly is turning in Australia. Conversely, conversely, just because transitions are always complex and we always see evidence of old realities. Conversely, the UN Rights Committee on September 23, just a few days ago, found that the Australian Government had violated the rights of Indigenous Torres Strait Islanders because they failed to adequately protect them against the adverse impacts of climate change. So I do think there is a lot that is moving forward and that is moving in the direction that we need and at the same time a lot more that needs to be looked at. There is there is never any progress that is easy or straightforward. What I think is very interesting is that Australia is actually planning a bid to host COP29. Yes, indeed, you heard it here first to host COP29 And of course that is going to put Australia even more into focus internationally, Australia being the big brother among all Pacific islands there, all of them very, very vulnerable to climate change. It is foreseeable that Australia, even though they're moving in the right direction, will be put under increasing political pressure on the part of Pacific Island leaders should they host COP29. So very exciting prospects for Australia. Really applaud everything that is happening and support the further work that has to be done. Paul and Dean, how wonderful to have both of you here. Thank you so much, especially to you, Dean, for joining us all the way from Australia. Always very insightful what you what you bring to these conversations and we might even have you back in in some months when we have more progress to report.
Paul: [01:01:23] Australia, we have you back. You come back if you're free. Okay, Christina, thank you for thanking me. But I want especially thank Dean also, particularly because I think that I know that you've done so many things. I've heard both Christiana and Tom speak to me in hushed tones about how critical you were in the in the road towards the Paris Agreement. Not something I know much about. What I do know a little bit about is the race to zero, which you've also been very heavily involved with an amazing campaign. A couple of weeks ago we had Martin Wolff on complaining that the populists across the corporations have got so much power. I'm cross, they've got so much power as well. But thank you, Dean, for getting 3000 and more of corporations doing the right thing to counteract the terrible negative pressure of the bad corporations doing the wrong thing. Thank you for that.
Christiana: [01:02:14] Indeed, indeed.
Dean: [01:02:16] Well, thanks to you both. A pleasure, as always to join you. I'm open to any further invitations. And Paul, I will do it gratis. Really, really, really great to see both.
Paul: [01:02:28] Thank you.
Christiana: [01:02:29] Thank you, Dean.
Dean: [01:02:31] Thank you.
Paul: [01:02:32] All right. Clay, I think we have an update from the Environmental Music Prize. Over to you.
Clay: [01:02:37] Oh, great. Thanks, Paul. Yes. So listeners have been very patient with us because we never really gave an update on how the Environmental Music Prize finished. So here we are with a Deep Dive Australia episode. It's the perfect time to let everyone know what happened. Listeners will remember that Christiana and I interviewed the founder of the Environmental Music Prize, Edwina Flock, on episode 150. I reached out to her this week to give our listeners an update. I'll play that message she sent me in just a moment. And excitingly, at the end, she actually introduced the winner of the Environmental Music Prize and listeners will get to hear the winning song. So let's say goodbye and kick it over to Edwina.
Paul: [01:03:25] All right. I think we'll see you all next week.
Dean: [01:03:27] Bye.
Christiana: [01:03:29] Bye.
Edwina Flock: [01:03:29] Hi, I'm Edwina Flock, the founder of the Environmental Music Prize. Since we announced the prize on Outrage + Optimism Earth Day episode back in April, many of you followed our story, watched music videos that inspire action for climate and conservation, and voted for your favorite. Clay asked me to give you an update, and I'm extremely excited to report that the inaugural prize was a massive success. We received over 200 music videos and invited music ambassadors and environmental leaders from Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Green Music Australia, the climate strike movement and more to select the 24 finalists based on what moved them. Amongst the artists chosen were some of Australia's top talent, as well as young and emerging artists. Despite having no marketing budget, thanks to this climate engaged community and phenomenal media interest, we received over 50,000 visits to the website and votes from 58 countries. Most excitingly, the winner King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard generously donated the $20,000 prize to our impact partner, the Wilderness Society. Everyone was blown away by this extraordinary gesture, and Wilderness will be using the money to fund frontline conservation, as well as education for artists through the prize in partnership with Byron Writers Festival. We also created a new prize and writer's retreat for an emerging environmental songwriter.
Edwina Flock: [01:04:54] This was awarded to Nadal Barker, an artist and activist of Aboriginal descent. Now capitalising on the interest and momentum in year one, we're working towards year two. Our vision is that every Earth Day will highlight a diverse range of songs that reflect the hopes, dreams, fears and ambitions of the environmental movement. These music videos are powerful communication tools and we hope they are widely used to move hearts and minds. Behind the scene will support artists by providing climate leadership training so they feel empowered to use their voice strategically and by generating content and media opportunities that highlight positive role models and accelerate cultural change. The appeal and potential of the prize is massive, but we need your help to scale fast. If you're an artist or music lover, please sign up to our newsletter and follow on socials to find out about next year's prize. If you're a values aligned philanthropist or corporate who can support our vision, please be in touch. It's now with great pleasure that I introduced the song that won the world's first Environmental Music Prize. If not now, then when? By King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is a fantastic reminder that there is no better time to act than right now.
Clay: [01:10:03] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism. I'm Clay, producer of this podcast. Welcome to the wrap up. This is the end of the podcast where I say a couple of thank yous and give you the listener a few things to check out before you go. So let's go. Congratulations to Environmental Music Prize winner King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. You should win any prize based on that band name alone, but the song is killer. As Edwina mentioned, the prize money, Environmental Music Prize money, after being awarded to King Gizzard, was immediately donated to the Wilderness Society. So that's a sizeable chunk. 20K. So thank you to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard for letting us spin your prize winning song. If not now, then when? On the podcast for our listeners. And of course, shout out to Edwina Flock. Thank you, Edwina, and thank you to the Environmental Music Prize for helping move hearts and minds, move towards taking climate action through the power of music. Now there's a music video for the song you just heard available to watch right now on YouTube and much, much, much more music from the band so you can check out the show notes for all the socials for King Gizzard. They're actually on a world tour right now coming to a city near you. And I just saw they're actually coming to Detroit in a couple of weeks. I'm going to go check them out. And of course, all of us at Outrage + Optimism are huge fans of continuing the work of the Environmental Music Prize. So please, if you're an artist or a philanthropist or just a supporter of music, EnvironmentalMusicPrize.com, and don't try to type environmental correctly into the URL yourself, you have enough problems to worry about.
Clay: [01:11:53] Just click, go to the show notes. There's a link I've got you. You can click it there. All right. Side note, Edwina Flock is a force to be reckoned with. And I think I said this last time when Christiana and I interviewed her on the show, but she like makes emailing look like an art form. It's truly amazing and I'm not sure if you picked it up in her update, but there is going to be another Environmental Music Prize next year, so get connected. We're so proud to have been an impact partner this year and look forward to next year's prize because it's already changing the world. Thank you to our guest co host this week, Dean Bialek. And thank you to our guests, Zali Steggall and Mike Cannon-Brookes. What an inspiring cast on this episode, The Australian Dream Team. You can keep up with all of them via the links to their socials and the show notes. As things are moving fast, Australia is back. Check the show notes. Okay, I have it. All right. For some reason, I have written down the Utah Jazz. Oh. Mike Cannon-Brooks is a part owner of the Utah Jazz. I don't know why. That's in the show Notes section. Quick update from last week. Global Optimism. Freya Newman has yet to submit her explanation on her master research regarding plant sleeping. And no Canadian citizen has been nominated to explain it on her behalf. So I'm sending her a text actually right now. Send me a recording. All right.
Clay: [01:13:39] Maybe that will mean we'll get a response. I know you all missed Tom this week, as did I. And if you need your Tom fix, I have something for you. He was on a podcast episode this week of a podcast called CoLiving Conversations. It's a podcast helping solve the global loneliness, environmental and housing crises, right? It's a fantastic podcast. And one of the hosts just happens to be Christiana's daughter, Naima. On the podcast, Tom talks about the power of finding where you are in the story of our world. What's your story and how to use that story to create the transformation and change that you want to see so highly recommend. I'm halfway through it right now. Cliffhanger. Don't know how it ends. Link in the show notes CoLiving Conversations. Go check it out and I guess it's time to shout out ourselves. Last but not least, if you liked this episode or the podcast, you can leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We read every single one. It's kind of one of our favorite things to do throughout the week is just kind of log in, check it out, and you can keep up with Christiana, Paul and Tom. And yeah, actually our podcast on social media links in the show notes to that. But I'll drop our at at OutrageOptimism. Check us out. Okay. It is time for me to go. My wife and I are actually celebrating our eighth anniversary tonight and I need to go wash my nice clothes because we're going out in public. Australia. You're amazing. Thank you, listeners. Always great to be with you. We'll see you next week.