MEDIA RELEASE 28 November 2018: It is important that our young people are empowered to participate in our democracy and speak out about the things that are important to them. Striking and protesting are very traditional and powerful ways to participate in a democracy and are usually engaged when governments are not listening, injustice is being felt and time is running out.
Climate change is real, it is here now, our young people here in our region know it and they are trying to tell us something. They are striking from school on Friday for Climate Action.
What should we do? We must support them and provide them with a safe public space to assemble, speak and express themselves together. Then we have the choice to listen to what they are saying and respond with messages of support and hope and address any failings they identify on merit. After all, that’s what we expect of them every day when we send them off to school.
Yesterday my fellow Greens member, WA Senator Jordon Steele-John, who is the youngest sitting member of the Australian Parliament, asked the Government why they think it’s okay for PM Morrison to bag out young people concerned about the impact of climate change on their futures. He then successfully moved that the Senate support the student strike after Prime Minister Morrison offensively condemned the action.
As an environmental lawyer I have fought for climate justice on behalf of communities in Courts around Australia and I have seen climate injustice taking place on the national and state stage. I challenged the approval for the Adani Coal Mine in the Federal Court of Australia and won. But this Federal Government just re-approved the mine again!
My children are now young adults, with my youngest having just finished year 12. I have watched over decades the increasing awareness and concern young people here in our region have about climate change as they contemplate their futures in a caring and responsible adult way. Now that I am a grandmother I too feel the sense of urgency our young people are clearly feeling.
I commend our young people across our region for organising to come together in a powerful way on a matter of such importance. If any of you can hear me, please know, I hear you and I will be standing with you on 30 November wherever you are. Don’t forget your permission note (if one is required).