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Ahead of Federal Election, Australian School Students Join Students Globally to #ClimateStrike

*New national poll shows Australians support politicians taking urgent action on climate change

*Hundreds of thousands strike worldwide: 60 Australian locations, 100+ countries, 1600+ events worldwide

*Demand urgent political action on climate change, Adani’s coal mine & fossil fuels

Tens of thousands of Australian school students from hundreds of schools in almost 60 cities and towns across Australia will today join students from 100 countries to strike from school, calling on all politicians to stop Adani’s coal mine, say no to all new new fossil fuels and power Australia with 100% renewable energy by 2030.


Meanwhile, a new national ReachTel poll* conducted on 12 March [here] shows:

  • two thirds of Australians, and 9 out of 10 Labor voters, believe - in the context of the upcoming federal election - that it’s critical that political leaders commit to immediately take serious action to tackle climate change

  • a clear majority of Australians, and 8 out of 10 Labor voters, support the students’ demands.

Capital city locations:

Sydney Strike Noon, Town Hall, march to Hyde Park North after 1PM.

Melbourne Strike Noon, Old Treasury Bldg, march to Treasury Gardens after 1PM

Brisbane Strike 1PM, Queens Gardens Park, march to Parliament House after 1.45PM

Adelaide Strike 11AM, South Australian Parliament to Victoria Square

Perth Strike 11AM, St George’s Cathedral, march to Elizabeth Quay after 12PM

Hobart Strike Noon, Parliament Lawns, Parliament House, march around city then speeches from 12.45PM

Canberra Strike Noon, Garema Place

Darwin Strike Noon, Parliament House


All Australian strikes are listed here and include almost 60 locations

International strikes are listed here and include over 100 countries


Following massive strikes around Australia at the end of 2018, students have this year extended an open invitation to everyone, including the union movement, health groups and the faith community, to back their strike and walk out for the afternoon in solidarity with the students.


Together with health, faith and human rights groups, over 20 unions have endorsed the students so far, including the Australian Education Union, United Voice, the National Union of Workers and the world’s largest union federation, the International Trade Union Confederation, representing 207 million workers.*Full list of unions below


Over 800 academics have signed an open letter in solidarity with the student strikers, with more signing on each day. 2019 Australian of the year (Thai cave dive rescuer) Dr Craig Challen has also publicly backed the strikers and will be attending the Sydney strike.


The two 14 year old students Milou Albrecht and Harriet O'Shea Carre who kicked off the school strike movement in Australia with fellow students in Central Victoria, said: “A Federal Election is around the corner, but our politicians are not listening to the Australian people. Extreme weather is all around us and we need our politicians to be climate leaders.

“We may still be in school but we know the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas is driving dangerous climate impacts, including droughts, bushfires, and heatwaves. We only have a decade to act in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change yet our politicians are wasting time and putting our future in danger,” said Albrecht.


Walgett student, Harley Hickey, 13 years old, said: “I see the temperatures reaching 50 degrees during summer in my community. We have two rivers in Walgett - the Barwon and Namoi River but both are dry. No water, means no life. Where did our water go? A lot of towns along these rivers are suffering because of our government’s bad decisions. My mum always tells me we are protectors of the land, water and animals. Take from them as you need but don't get greedy. I'm seeing my future disappear before my eyes that's why six of us from Walgett are travelling to Sydney to strike for climate action now.”


Brisbane student, Moni Siaosi,15 years old, said: "Climate change remains the single greatest threat to our livelihoods, security and well being. We are coming together to bring about awareness and to express our deepest concerns for the future and our planet. The time is now. As the sea levels rise, so will we!"


Mackay student, Amy Wyles, 14 years old, said: “We may be younger than these politicians, but we can see where the future of our world is headed if they keep propping up Adani’s coal mines and pushing more more fossil fuels. We are here to act on climate change. We won’t stop until our politicians stop treating our world’s future as a joke and realise that they’re jeopardising my generation’s future. Climate change is deadly, so why aren’t the people in power treating it seriously?”


Bunbury student, Bella Burgemeister, 13 years old, said: "This is a climate emergency and we need to take immediate action. We are striking in nearly 60 locations across Australia and this will not stop until our politicians hear us and do what’s needed to protect our planet. It is time for people to stand together and fight for our futures."


BACKGROUND The Australian school strike movement began last year when school students in Central Victoria were inspired by 15 year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who has been striking outside Swedish Parliament every Friday since August. Last November, over 15,000 Australian school students went on strike, defying Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s orders not to. A similar number hit the streets a week later, in response to Adani’s announcement it would self-fund its Carmichael mine.


*Other unions which have endorsed the strike include: Australian Services Union, United Firefighters Union, United Voice, the Construction and General Division of the CFMEU Victoria, the Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation Victoria & NSW, Education International, the global federation of unions representing 30 million education workers, and Public Services International, a global union federation of 669 public services trade unions representing 20 million workers in 154 countries. Full list: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/partners


*NATIONAL POLL


A national Reachtel poll conducted on 12 March 2019 (available here) found:

Thinking about the upcoming federal election, almost two thirds (63.1%) of Australians think it’s ‘important’ or ‘very important’ that political leaders commit to immediately take serious action to tackle climate change. That view is strongly held - nearly half of all those polled said it’s ‘very important’ that leaders act.


Amongst Labor voters, the sentiment is stronger still - more than 9 out of 10 (92.8%) Labor voters believe it's ‘important’ or ‘very important’, and nearly 8 out of ten (79.2%) think it is ‘very important’ that political leaders commit to immediately take serious action to tackle climate change.


A clear majority of Australians (54%) support the student strikers’ demands and, of this, a sizeable number (42%) ‘strongly support’ them.


NATIONAL MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

State Media Enquiries:

  • NSW: 0427 485 233

  • VIC: 0437 316 331

  • QLD: 0415 833 948

  • SA: 0457 449 188

  • WA: 0430 439 357

  • TAS: 0472 639 380

  • ACT: 0408 668 963

  • NT: 0413 534 125

Interviews can be arranged with students and other groups referenced in this Release.

PHOTOS will be uploaded to our Flickr here.

VIDEOS will be uploaded to google drive here and on our Vimeo here.


For more information: www.schoolstrike4climate.com

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