Stu­dents left hang­ing dur­ing Can­berra trip to con­front Mor­ri­son on cli­mate change

The Guardian Australia - - Environment - Aus­tralian As­so­ci­ated Press

High school stu­dents from across Aus­tralia call­ing for emergency ac­tion on cli­mate change have trav­elled to Can­berra to con­front the prime min­is­ter af­ter he crit­i­cised them for skip­ping school to stage na­tional strikes.

Stu­dents from Scott Mor­ri­son’s south­ern Sydney elec­torate of Cook – as well as Townsville, Melbourne and Bris­bane – ar­rived at Par­lia­ment House on Wed­nes­day morn­ing to meet with him.

Mor­ri­son said he would sit down with the school stu­dents.

“I’m al­ways happy to lis­ten. I re­spect ev­ery­body’s views,” he told re­porters on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“We don’t al­ways have to agree on ev­ery­thing, you know, but we do have to re­spect each other and we do have to take each other’s views se­ri­ously.

“Whether that’s talking about cli­mate, or whether that’s talking about en­ergy, or whether that’s talking about the other dif­fi­cult is­sues we’re deal­ing with in the par­lia­ment this week, you’ve got to re­spect ev­ery­body’s views, you can’t run their views down be­cause they have them.”

But one group of 11 stu­dents gath­ered out the back of Par­lia­ment House in the hope of speak­ing to Mor­ri­son had not yet had any luck.

Four­teen-year-old Tully Bowtel­lYoung trav­elled solo from Townsville for the chance to share her con­cerns with the prime min­is­ter – us­ing her own pocket money to help cover costs.

“I think it’s worth­while be­cause noth­ing I have now is go­ing to mean any­thing if I don’t have a fu­ture in this world,” she said.

The strik­ing stu­dents want fed­eral pol­i­cy­mak­ers to stop the Adani coalmine and move Aus­tralia from fos­sil fu­els to 100% re­new­able en­ergy.

They also want the gov­ern­ment to re­spond to their 20,000-strong protests that were held across the coun­try last week, says 16-year-old Aisheeya Huq.

“We have been try­ing so much for the pos­si­bil­ity of meet­ing with [Scott Mor­ri­son] but if we don’t get that op­por­tu­nity af­ter com­ing so far and go­ing through so much to be here I think we will be a bit dis­heart­ened,” she said.

The group of stu­dents tried nu­mer­ous times to call the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice but were told they needed to have a pre­ar­ranged meet­ing or­gan­ised – in some in­stances they were hung up on.

Stu­dents protest­ing the gov­ern­ment’s lack of ac­tion on cli­mate change stage a sit-in in themar­ble foyer at Par­lia­ment House on Wed­nes­day. Pho­to­graph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Pro­test­ers speak to Aus­tralian Greens se­na­torJor­dan Steele-John. Pho­to­graph: LukasCoch/AAP

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