Students left hanging during Canberra trip to confront Morrison on climate change

Group rallies outside Parliament House after being told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organised

students protesting the government’s lack of action on climate change
Students protesting the government’s lack of action on climate change stage a sit-in in the marble foyer at Parliament House on Wednesday. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

— High school students from across Australia calling for emergency action on climate change have travelled to Canberra to confront the prime minister after he criticised them for skipping school to stage national strikes.

Students from Scott Morrison’s southern Sydney electorate of Cook – as well as Townsville, Melbourne and Brisbane – arrived at Parliament House on Wednesday morning to meet with him.

Morrison said he would sit down with the school students.

“I’m always happy to listen. I respect everybody’s views,” he told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“We don’t always have to agree on everything, you know, but we do have to respect each other and we do have to take each other’s views seriously.

“Whether that’s talking about climate, or whether that’s talking about energy, or whether that’s talking about the other difficult issues we’re dealing with in the parliament this week, you’ve got to respect everybody’s views, you can’t run their views down because they have them.”

But one group of 11 students gathered out the back of Parliament House in the hope of speaking to Morrison had not yet had any luck.

Fourteen-year-old Tully Bowtell-Young travelled solo from Townsville for the chance to share her concerns with the prime minister – using her own pocket money to help cover costs.

“I think it’s worthwhile because nothing I have now is going to mean anything if I don’t have a future in this world,” she said.


The striking students want federal policymakers to stop the Adani coalmine and move Australia from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.

They also want the government to respond to their 20,000-strong protests that were held across the country last week, says 16-year-old Aisheeya Huq.

“We have been trying so much for the possibility of meeting with [Scott Morrison] but if we don’t get that opportunity after coming so far and going through so much to be here I think we will be a bit disheartened,” she said.

The group of students tried numerous times to call the prime minister’s office but were told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organised – in some instances they were hung up on.

Senator Jordan Steele-John and independent MP Kerryn Phelps both came out to meet with the students.

protesters speak to australian greens
Protesters speak to Australian Greens senator Jordan Steele-John. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


by Australian Associated Press | The Guardian