Hundreds of students striking over climate change descend on parliament

Students miss school to call on MPs to take emergency action ‘because this is our future’

students striking from school in protest climate inaction
Students striking from school on Wednesday protest climate inaction at Parliament House, Canberra. Photograph: School Strike 4 Climate

— School students protesting climate change have arrived in Canberra after the prime minister told them to be less activist and go back to school.

Hundreds of students lined up outside Parliament House on Wednesday wanting to speak to Scott Morrison and government ministers about taking emergency action against climate change.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a motion to support the students in their decision to strike from school and hold a series of planned national protests.

Students across the country plan to leave school this week, with protests in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart scheduled for Friday.

On Wednesday it was the turn of Canberra students, who waited in the rain outside parliament and met with Labor, Greens and crossbench MPs, including the federal Greens leader, Richard Di Natale.

australian greens leader richard di natale at parliament house with students from the school walkout for climate action
Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale at Parliament House with students from the school walkout for climate action. Photograph: Australian Greens

 

 

Matilda, 9, held a sign that said “Beware: Radical student activist”. Riley, 12, told the crowd: “The politicians aren’t helping and we need to take action to save our climate.”

“You need to help us because this is our future,” he said.

 

On Monday Morrison said in question time that the students “should go to school”, in response to a question from Greens MP Adam Bandt.

“These brave and courageous kids are joining young people around the world who are angry at the failure of governments,” Bandt asked. “Will you meet with and listen to these kids?”

The prime minister replied that climate change was “a very real and serious issue” but that “kids should go to school”.

“We don’t support our schools being turned into parliaments,” he said. “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism.”

 

But a day later, the Senate narrowly voted to approve a motion from Greens senators Jordon Steele-John and Mehreen Faruqi that showed support for the striking students.

On Wednesday, Steele-John, Labor MPs Ged Kearney and Julie Owens, and Centre Alliance MP Rebehka Sharkie also met the students to hear their concerns.


by Naaman Zhou | The Guardian