Students set to strike against inaction on climate change were told by the Prime Minister to stay in school, during Question Time on Monday.
Schools should not be turned into Parliament, Scott Morrison said in response to a question from the Greens’ Adam Bandt regarding the Big School Walkout for Climate Action. And Australian politicians want to see “more learning” and “less activism” in schools.
Such comments from the PM may have held some credibility if those same students could actually see more action occurring in Parliament, especially when it comes to climate change.
But we’ve been seeing very little of that recently, other than the infighting associated with potential action.
Right now, the Coalition has no significant plans on climate change, despite only recently signing on to a Pacific declaration stating that climate change is the “single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.”
Environment minister Melissa Price has rejected findings in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), suggesting that the 91 scientists behind the report had got it wrong on calling on the need to end coal power. Energy Minister Angus Taylor refers to coal-fired power as being “fair dinkum” energy.
We’re caught in a “paralysis” on action on climate change, as Dr Kerry Phelps referred to it during her maiden speech in Parliament yesterday. The time to act is long overdue.
So you can understand why younger people, whose futures very much depend on what can be done now to curb the worst effects of climate change, might be a little pissed off at our elected representatives.
Laura Skyes, spokesperson for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, told AAP in response to the comments yesterday that Morrison is happy to shut down the voice of young people in politics, but will still “listen to the coal lobby and big corporations who continue to profit from making climate change worse.”
Some in the Liberal party are speaking out at the Coalition’s inaction on Climate Change and, once again, it’s difficult to ignore the presence of women in voicing their concerns.
Today, former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has called on the Coalition to do a deal with Labor on the national energy guarantee. Speaking with the Australian Financial Review, she said reliable energy “must and has to be balanced with concerns for our environment and preservation for our planet.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer has reportedly told her party colleagues that the Liberal party is seen as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers,” according to the Herald Sun. She said it’s not who they are as liberals, but the “crusades” of some MPs are making it seem that way.
The student walkout will occur this Friday, with hundreds expected to arrive at Parliaments and MP offices across the country. A number of protests have already occurred and they are not solely targeted at the government, with twenty students from regional Victoria prompting the shutdown of Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s electorate office late last week.
The climate inaction protests have been inspired by Greta Thunberg (pictured above), a 15-year-old Swedish school girl who started camping out outside the Swedish Parliament to raise attention over the climate change threat.
She has tweeted in response to Morrison’s comments in Parliament: “Sorry Mr Scott Morrison, we are unable to comply.”
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 26, 2018
Thunberg started protesting in the lead up to the Swedish elections on the 9th September, and has been walking out of school every Friday since.
She recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that the amount of media attention she has been getting is the thing that has surprised her the most, in that it was so easy.
“I remember thinking before I started, ‘why has no one ever done this before?'”
“All we need to do is treat it like a crisis with headlines and news reporting all the time. And I mean A L L the time. As if there was a war going on.”
She also said Australia is a “huge climate villain” with a significant carbon footprint, and that students here can make a significant difference.