Thousands Of Students Striking For Climate Change Say They Just Want To Be Heard

"We'd rather be at school"

14 March 2019

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Aussie students say politicians' inaction is forcing them to skip school and say it's incredibly frustrating. 

Almost 6000 students here in Melbourne have RSVP'd yes to the midday event, joining  thousands of others  students across the country who will walk out of school over inaction on climate change. 

Today's country-wide mass protest comes months after students first skipped school over climate action, a move condemned by the prime minister. This time students are taking part in a day of global action with more than 90 countries participating.

Balwyn student Maiysha Moin says they just want to be heard:

"Sometimes I'll be thinking about it and I'll be shaking with fury because I realise how selfish these politicians are. It's about greed, it's about money and profits and they aren't putting people before profits as elected representatives."

She says students who are striking value their education, but they value their future as well:

"All of us, every single striker really values our education and this strike movements shows how we all have to sacrifice something we love, something that's so important to us just because our futures are being threatened. Our future is at risk." 

However senior cabinet minister Christopher Pyne says taking a few hours of school will damage their education.

"Usually strikes are when employees withdraw their labour from an employee so I'm not sure why the students are withdrawing themselves from school. It only damages their education," Mr Pyne told Nine's Today on Friday.

He said the students should be in school, and if they wanted to engage in political activism it should be on their own time.

Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon defended student activism, saying children should be encouraged to express their opinions.

"I don't think any student is going to miss out on their career because they missed a few hours of school today," he said.

"As long as they are safe and their parents know where they are and they are marching or protesting in a respectful way, in a responsible way, I think that is fine."

The students have three demands: stop the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, no new coal or gas, and 100 per cent renewables by 2030.

More than 800 academics have signed an open letter in solidarity with the striking students, with some set to join in on protests on Friday.

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