You are here

School Strike for Climate

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 28 October 2021

Tags: Climate Change, Protest

Dr WOODRUFF - Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise a few days before the Glasgow COP26 summit which is a truly grave and pretentious meeting of leaders of countries around the planet to decide collectively our fates. I want to speak into the Hansard the words of a couple of speakers who spoke at the school strike for climate which was held on Friday 15 October just two weeks ago on a very wet and wildish day. And I have to say, I pay great praise and tribute to the young people who organised that. Sam Eccleston was one of the leaders, but there were many other organisers of the School Strike for Climate.

This was an enormous group of people who turned up. Well over 1000 people were there. There was a rally that went from the Domain to Parliament lawns, an enormous logistical exercise given it rained and given the COVID-19 requirements. This was all run by the children. They did not have any adults in there organising it for them. They do not have anyone working in the background. This is not a front group. This is students who took time off school to do an amazing logistics exercise to speak to young people and it was young people's voices I want to read in today.

One of those young people was Lucian Beatty (TBC time 7.40.59). These are abridged statements from people. Too often, he said, I hear people saying that striking is useless, that it is a waste of time. We strike, so that they will act.

It was only this week that Scott Morrisons buddies in the Murdoch press began promoting net zero by 2050. This may sound like an amazing step forward, but truly it is just a greenwashed election scheme, hidden behind demands from the Nationals for $250 billion in subsidies to the billionaire owners of the fossil fuel industries. And not to mention the fact that net zero by 2050 is 20 years too late.

Unfortunately, he said it is not only the federal government that needs to act. I am utterly shocked that our Premier, Peter Gutwein can target net zero emissions by 2030 but still ignores pushes to declare a climate emergency saying that it will frighten the children. Well look at us now, Lucian said, frighten children, but we are not frightened the way Premier Gutwein said we would be. We are frightened because we have a government that won't take up their full responsibility and act. We are frightened because we have a government that won't declare a climate crisis. A crisis that our government, being the quote "climate leaders of the country" are doing their best to fight, but still won't even acknowledge its existence.

This is truly the turning point, Lucian said, if our government and world do not act on climate change to the best we can, we are doomed. It is hurtful to know that we have a government that chooses to care more about money than they care about the health and safety of their own citizens. For them not to act or care about the state of our planet's climate, is the equivalent of digging our future children's graves before they can even have a chance to see the beauty of earths nature.

These are hard words. This is spoken by a young man to a group of children. Children who know the reality. Who are not afraid to talk about their future, because this is the future they are coming into. Also, there was the young women Panina Egossi from the Oceana Climate Jicens.

Members interjecting.

I did not write those words, Mr Ferguson. I speak those words of Lucian Beatty and while we are here and do have before me and I did promise the children at the rally that I would table these statements from the children to the House. So, with your indulgence Chair,

We have never had an adjournment. I have never seen this.

Mr Ferguson - You have got to do your work properly.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The question is that leave be granted.

Mr FERGUSON - No. And unfortunately, if I have to rise to explain this. This is a serious process that attaches privilege to a document. You cannot just drop it on the table and expect the House to attach that privilege which amongst other things is the defence on defamation lawful claims. It just does not work like that. I would invite the member to reconsider her actions and ask for it to be tabled at a future sitting.

Ms O'BYRNE - I absolutely understand the desire to table this and the commitment that you gave to young people, but it is form to normally circulate. Having a quick scan, I cannot see anything there that would cause any concern for Government.

Dr Woodruff - They were just speeches made on the lawn outside.

Ms O'BYRNE - I am happy to talk for a little while if Mr Ferguson wants to read it, but it is not the normal process to do it without having tabled, at least, to allow us to read them. I cannot see anything in them that would cause any distress, Mr Ferguson, if you have a moment to cast your eye over them.

Mr Ferguson - I will commend you to ask to have that tabled at the next sitting. You just do not do that to other colleagues in the Chamber.

Dr WOODRUFF - I will move to have them tabled at the next opportunity because these are the words of young people. [Name to TBC 7:45:39] from Ocean Climate Justice is a Samoan woman whose island is disappearing in front of her and her family's eyes. She is here in Tasmania learning to be a nurse, but she is deeply concerned at the changes she is seeing that will mean her island and her home town of [TBC 7:45:59] will be two metres below sea level in the near future and within the lifetime of her family. These are our young people. They are looking for leadership. They are looking to Glasgow but, importantly, they are looking to our Premier, Peter Gutwein, to take this seriously and do everything he can.