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

12-year-old Lu­cie

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