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Adjournment - Climate Change Student Rally

20 March 2019

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I pay tribute to the 8000 students who were estimated to have flooded the lawns of Parliament House and marched around the streets of Hobart last Friday. This was a truly momentous occasion, probably the largest march that has ever been seen in Hobart and they joined together with approximately 1.5 million children from around the world in 2233 different cities, over 128 countries. Every country in the world was represented in some form.

I do not think I saw you there, Mr Deputy Speaker, but what this display was, and it is hard to describe the absolute enormity, the waves of young people from primary school to high school to young adults. About 90 per cent of the people were children, about 10 per cent were adults. The energy of the young people was incredible, their passion and their incredible, clear words. They know what they want and what they want is leadership from politicians. They want action from politicians. They want the people who have the ability to change the way we do things, to change and dramatically bring down our carbon emissions. They want us to act.

I want to share some of their beautiful signs, because children can be so humorous and playful and they used their words. I saw a sea of signs - Losing Nemo: One of the year's best disaster films; Denial is not a Policy; There is no Planet B; Time is running out; Wake up to the climate crisis; We cannot drink oil and we cannot breathe money; Santa: Homeless by 2021; The oceans are rising and so are we; Scott Morrison, you are three times our age and three times as naïve, and a special message to the minister for Education: I am sorry I cannot do my homework, I am too busy saving the planet.

Mr Deputy Speaker, those children learnt so much more by striking, going and meeting with other children and sharing their collective energy and are getting positive action and support in communing with other children than they would ever have achieved by staying in the classroom that afternoon. Children, thinking children, children who look at what is happening in the world and who read social media, they understand the planet is in a very dark place; time is running out, so is the time for action.

We have been given just 11 years to take dramatic action on carbon dioxide emissions. Thanks to Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl in Sweden. This is where it all started, she has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Her action alone has started this global movement because if adults will not act, children will force us to. There are solutions there; there are things we can do. It is not an unsolvable problem and I, and the rest of the Greens, will spend every day we are in Parliament talking about this until action happens.