Today, tens of thousands of students, children, went on a strike from school today across the country. All of them did so with one united goal – to protest against the current government’s outdated reliance on fossil fuels, for the survival of their futures. Even being faced with displeased politicians hiding behind the walls of Parliament, they shouted for a better and cleaner world.
This protest takes place after the news that Adani plans to fund its QLD coal mines without any government aid, and neither Labor nor Liberal intend on stopping it at this point in time. If Adani gets their way, they’ll be starting before year’s end. With drought and fires wracking the north-eastern state, Adani’s access to water supplies is doubly disastrous, and their hunt for coal, with Liberal blessings, is detrimental to human survival. Adani already has an awful record, whether it be the environmental impact of its projects, the economic impact on the devastated regions they leave behind, or the corruption and dirty business tactics that mar their dealings internationally. It cannot be allowed to happen here.
This multibillion dollar international company was called ‘a little Aussie battler’ by our Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Matthew Canavan. The absurdity of such a claim is only worsened by the fact that it comes from a man whose portfolio’s purpose is to dethrone old technologies and push the limits of Australia’s ingenuity. This same man objected to students striking, saying they would be better served staying in school (a sentiment started by Scott Morrison earlier this week), and that one day these marchers will be ‘dole bludgers’. He said at school they should be taught about coal and the process of mining it. That, along with Morrison’s statement about having less activism in schools, seems rather authoritarian. They’re scared, because once these young kids are of voting age, it won’t be the Liberals that they vote for.
For a party that just got wiped out in Victoria, alienating a large portion of the upcoming voters seems like a self-defeating move. The politicians claim that they want the kids in school to learn, but then try and suggest they learn things that suit their agenda, and goes directly against science and fact. I think the kids would have learned much more today than they would have at school, and given how articulate some of them have been in front of cameras, I’m sure they can afford a day off. Becoming politically active is something that I never saw during my time at school. My own interests in the subject were seen as boring and almost made me a bit of an outsider – no one else cared. Seeing so many taking a day to rise up and demand their future be kept safe is a sight to be proud of, not one to diminish. There’s an irony in what Canavan said; even if some of those children became dole bludgers in the future, if their actions today make any difference, then at least they have a future to be dole bludgers in.
These kids are not dumb. One quote I heard was “if politicians weren’t acting like children in Parliament, children wouldn’t have to act like politicians in schools”. The worst part is, our politicians know it is an issue – Morrison himself admits that, and tries to justify his Party’s pathetic attempts to look ‘progressive’. They know it’s an issue, yet continue to hasten its severity. To a much lesser extent, it’s similar to Noam Chomsky’s analysis of the US Republican party. They, in their greed and short-sightedness, are actively trying to bring the downfall of organised human life. The Americans are in another league entirely, but the meaning carries over.
One can only hope that these kids, along with future elections across the country, can make a difference and put end to the use of fossil fuels. Political activism should be encouraged in schools – not as part of the curriculum, with set doctrines or other authoritarian style measures, but a level of political literacy. The ability to critically analyse the modern world, and the knowledge and right to question it, is paramount. Fact cannot be allowed to be drowned out by ideology or money, and kids should not have to bear the brunt of that abuse. These kids should be in school, but when the government will not do its job, they have taken it upon themselves to speak up.
They are the true little Aussie battlers, not Adani.
(Written 30/11/2018; posted 1/12/2018)