GetUp uses child to labour point
GetUp is using a 12-year-old girl to raise money for a national advertising campaign supporting the Global Climate Strike, which is urging students and workers to take the day off and “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels”.
The left-wing activist group, which was accused on Wednesday of exploitation for using a schoolgirl to tout for donations, sent an email “from Lucie” to members attacking the government and asking for “$12 donations”. The letter, which GetUp claimed was delivered on behalf of Lucie ahead of the Global #ClimateStrike next Friday, calls on supporters to fund a “big TV ad” to help grow the number of protesters across the nation to more than 300,000.
“GetUp are helping me make a big TV ad and we also want to put up lots of other ads to help get adults out on the streets with us. Show your support for climate strikers by chipping in $12 to help make this the biggest one ever,” the letter says.
“I don’t want to live in a world where the Great Barrier Reef is just a memory. No more Nemo and Dory. And I really don’t want to spend my whole life cleaning up the mistakes of leaders like Scott Morrison and Matt Canavan.”
The schools strike movement that has been organised behind
the figurehead of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg who will speak at the UN Climate Action Summit later this month after sailing to New York from England to raise awareness about dangerous climate change.
The letter from Lucie also references how activist group Campact raised funds for German student strikers and that “we need flyers, posters and a national ad campaign” to raise awareness.
The SchoolStrike4climate website, which lists unions including the Australian Education Union, CFMEU, ETU, United Voice and Australian Services Union as supporters, calls on backers to take “the day off school, uni or work to show our politicians that we’re serious about climate action”.
“We are in the thick of the climate crisis. Yet we just elected a government that wants to open the floodgates to new coal, oil and gas projects that put all of us at risk. We are already hurting from the impacts of climate change,” the website says.
GetUp would not confirm whether Lucie received support penning the email or if the promotional photo of the girl on its website was taken in GetUp’s offices. It also refused to confirm how much money had been raised.
A GetUp spokesman told The Australian it “proudly supports the student-led climate strikes”.
“If Australian schoolkids feel like they are not being well represented by political leaders in this country, it is their right to get out and protest because their future is on the line,” he said.
On its website, GetUp said “if we raise enough, we’ll also run a major online ad campaign, with ads and videos tailored to a diverse range of audiences”.
Senator Canavan said the reason GetUp was “losing the debate is because they never come across as authentic”. “GetUp’s authority has been so debased that it has had to revert to using a 12-year-old girl to raise money for itself. That is just sad,” Senator Canavan told The Australian.
“I subscribe to GetUp emails so I can have a good laugh at the ridiculous corporatese that these emails are written in. All they are about is raising money for themselves, not doing anything practical to save the environment.”
The Resources Minister, who has championed Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, said GetUp was not supporting a climate rally, it is supporting a “stop jobs rally”.
Community advocate and long-time Liberal Kathryn Greiner, who has worked extensively in childcare policy, said there was a “sense of exploitation” in using a 12-year-old to front a campaign asking for donations.
“I’m very supportive when they’ve clearly got an awareness of the big issues of our society, of which climate change is clearly one. I’m quite supportive of them getting active in campaigns but perhaps not to be the one whose signature is on the letter. That’s manipulating the child to pull the heartstrings,” she said.
“The logic is people will then want to interview her. That then means her face might become known. Instant fame, the instant celebrity, we’ve seen what happens to people.
“With all due respect, 12-yearolds are a bit young to understand the full ramifications of that. I would be hesitant.”
University of Sydney professor of paediatrics Elizabeth Elliott said 12-year-olds were capable of understanding climate change and commended them for that but was concerned about the request for donations. “I always have some concerns when money is involved because I think it’s difficult for people to be accountable for that money and how it’s used,” she said. “Some people who read the request … they may be ambivalent about funding such a campaign without the appropriate assurances of how it might be expended and who might be responsible for that. We wouldn’t want a 12-yearold to be held responsible for the use of those funds.”
National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell said “children should be able to have a say on things that impact them”.
“They have the right to share their views. Children are citizens and have as much right to have a say as anyone else. Children can be very powerful defenders on human rights, depending on the context and maturity,” Ms Mitchell said.
“As a nation, Australia needs to do a lot more to routinely hear from children and young people.”
‘GetUp’s authority has been so debased that it has had to revert to using a 12-year-old girl to raise money’ MATT CANAVAN RESOURCES MINISTER