Australian children walk out of school to protest government inaction on climate change

  • 01/12/2018

Thousands of Australian school students have protested climate change inaction across the country.

Students skipped school on Friday to highlight what they say are inadequate climate policies by the Australian government.

Earlier in the week, Australian PM Scott Morrison rebuked their plans for "activism" during school hours and insisted his government was tackling climate change.

But Castlemaine student Harriet O'Shea Carre disagreed, telling Australia's ABC she's done being polite.

"The politicians aren't listening to us when we try to ask nicely for what we want and for what we need."

Students walked out on Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Bendigo, following similar protests in Canberra and Hobart earlier in the week.

Hundreds of students gathered at each protest site, many carrying homemade signs asking for policy reform.

Harriet, and Milou Albrecht, both 14, started the protests after hearing about a one-woman protest being conducted by a Swedish teenager. They said it was worth sacrificing a day of their education for it.

"We have tried so many other ways, we've tried just asking, we've tried telling them, and so we really just need to show them now so we're just going to keep pushing and keep trying because we love the natural world," said Harriet.

Crowds of children protest in Australia.
Crowds of children protest in Australia. Photo credit: Getty

Government representatives weren't impressed though, with resources minister Matt Canavan telling radio station 2GB children liked learning about mining and oil and gas.

"The best thing you learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue," he said.

Meanwhile Mr Morrison said schools should not be places for activism.

"We don't support the idea of kids not going to school to participate in things that can be dealt with outside of school," he said.

"We don't support our schools being turned into parliaments. What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools."

Protesting students were quick to point out they didn't want to be forced into activism.

"If you were doing your job properly, we wouldn't be here," South Australia Parliament House protest organiser Deanna Athanos, who is currently in year 10, told Australia's ABC.


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