La­bor pay plan’s two-tier ap­proach

The Weekend Australian - - FRONT PAGE - EWIN HANNAN

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of low­paid work­ers on the na­tional min­i­mum wage could get sig­nif­i­cant pay rises un­der a pro­posal be­ing ex­am­ined by fed­eral La­bor.

The Week­end Aus­tralian can re­veal the La­bor op­po­si­tion is con­sid­er­ing a pol­icy to lift all full­time work­ers out of poverty while mit­i­gat­ing the im­pact of min­i­mum wage in­creases on busi­ness and the econ­omy.

A Shorten gov­ern­ment would urge the Fair Work Com­mis­sion to es­sen­tially take a two-tiered ap­proach: award higher pay rises to work­ers on the low­est rate and smaller, above-in­fla­tion in­creases to those on higher award rates.

Student lead­ers of a school strike by tens of thou­sands of chil­dren who skipped classes to at­tend cli­mate change ral­lies around the na­tion yes­ter­day have re­buked Scott Mor­ri­son for “do­ing noth­ing” to pro­tect fu­ture gen­er­a­tions by re­duc­ing re­liance on fos­sil fu­els and switch­ing to clean en­ergy.

Lead­ers of the mass student walk­out, part of a global day of sim­i­lar demon­stra­tions, also ridiculed the Prime Min­is­ter’s call for “more school­ing, less ac­tivism” that they claimed ig­nored the grav­ity of a com­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter caused by the ill-ef­fects of cli­mate change.

Ad­dress­ing a packed rally out­side Syd­ney Town Hall, high school student Danielle from the city’s west hit out at Mr Mor­ri­son: “You could re­move ba­sic sci­ence from the syl­labus or start do­ing your job.”

An­other student leader at the Syd­ney protest, Crys­tal Rus­sell, said the world would not end be­cause stu­dents missed school to at­tend ral­lies, but time was run­ning out as politi­cians failed to ad­dress a cli­mate cri­sis.

“They are not lis­ten­ing to the symp­toms — the droughts, the bush­fires, the storms, the ris­ing oceans,” she said.

The Syd­ney crowd was also given Bill Shorten’s of­fice num­ber in Mel­bourne and urged to “flood” him with calls. Student leader Daisy said: “We need ac­tion on cli­mate change that we de­serve.”

While pro­moted across the coun­try as student-led ral­lies with speak­ers aged un­der 18, an adul­trun ac­tivist group called the Aus­tralian Youth Cli­mate Coali­tion was deeply in­volved in or­gan­is­ing and co-or­di­nat­ing the day’s strike.

With ral­lies in 55 cities and re­gional cen­tres, lead­ers of the “School Strike 4 Cli­mate Ac­tion” is­sued three de­mands for the na­tion’s politi­cians: stop the pro­posed Adani coalmine, no new coal or gas projects, and 100 per cent re­new­able en­ergy by 2030.

At Mel­bourne’s rally, which at­tracted 20,000 pro­test­ers, stu- dent or­gan­iser Har­riet O’Shea Carre held a plac­ard say­ing “We De­serve a Fu­ture”. The crowd in­cluded adult vol­un­teers from the AYCC, Aus­tralian Con­ser­va­tion Foun­da­tion and unions.

Also at­tend­ing were Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the Greens can­di­date for Hig­gins, Ja­son Ball. In­de­pen­dent can­di­date for Kooy­ong Oliver Yates was with sup­port­ers hold­ing signs say­ing, “Real Cli­mate Ac­tion: Vote Yates”.

Among the crowd in Ade­laide were sen­a­tors Sarah Han­sonYoung and Tim Storer, state Greens MP Mark Par­nell and state La­bor ed­u­ca­tion spokes­woman Su­san Close.

The es­ti­mated 4000 at­tend- ees, in­clud­ing many adults, were told the rally was “just as much about so­cial jus­tice as it is the en­vi­ron­ment”.

Syd­ney Lord Mayor Clover Moore spoke briefly to the es­ti­mated 25,000 crowd that was a mix of school stu­dents, teach­ers, par­ents, uni­ver­sity stu­dents, union of­fi­cials and cli­mate ac­tivists. “I sup­port your strike,” Ms Moore said, echo­ing NSW La­bor Op­po­si­tion Leader Michael Da­ley and his con­trary stand af­ter Mr Mor­ri­son and NSW Pre­mier Gladys Bere­jik­lian had urged stu­dents to stay at school.

Went­worth in­de­pen­dent fed­eral MP Ker­ryn Phelps, who won Mal­colm Turn­bull’s seat at a by­elec­tion in Oc­to­ber, joined stu- dent lead­ers on the Syd­ney podium but did not speak. GetUp na­tional di­rec­tor Paul Oost­ing watched pro­ceed­ings but did not ad­dress pro­test­ers.

Kevin Laso, a con­creter and mu­si­cian from Cam­den South, said he and his part­ner, Car­men Guer­rero, had joined their 10year-old daugh­ter, Lara, at the rally be­cause all were pas­sion­ate about cli­mate change. “If any­one should be protest­ing, it should be the kids who will get the bad end of the stick,” Mr Laso said.

He said Mr Mor­ri­son’s call for chil­dren to stay at school in­stead of protest­ing was laugh­able.

BRITTA CAMPION

Car­men Guer­rero and Kevin Laso with daugh­ter Lara out­side Syd­ney Town Hall. Mr Laso be­lieves the kids will get the bad end of the cli­mate stick

STU­ART McEVOY

School stu­dents protest on the streets of Mel­bourne

COLIN MURTY

Perth stu­dents ‘voice’ their anger through plac­ards

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