Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Seems complete overkill that the police were called to confront a peaceful group of young teenage high school students.
Young climate change protesters denied entry to Bill Shorten’s electorate office in Melbourne
ABC Radio Adelaide By Malcolm Sutton
A group of school students preparing for a nationwide strike over climate change inaction have prompted the closure of Bill Shorten’s electorate office, on the advice of federal police.
About 20 students from the Victorian town of Castlemaine travelled to the Opposition Leader’s Maribyrnong office on Thursday but were denied entry by security officers, who also requested the help of Victorian Police.
The young activists have been striking from school at least once a week throughout November to call for significant political action to address climate change.
The students arrived after the earlier group had dispersed, at which point police returned.
“We tried to talk to Bill Shorten and we went up to his office and straight away they kicked us out and wouldn’t let us through the doors,” Year 9 student Tully Boyle said.
“We even called their Canberra office and there was a young man who picked up the phone and had a little chat but didn’t say we could have a talk with anyone.”
A spokesman for Mr Shorten said the office had not been advised about the students’ visit and said it would be “happy to arrange a meeting in the future”.
“The office was temporarily closed on the advice of the Australian Federal Police,” he said.
“Bill was in Sydney launching Labor’s plan for more renewable energy and cheaper power. Bill takes climate change seriously.”
I wish the parents would tell those kids to go back to school, but what a delicious collision of left wing values.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten desperately wants to woo the green vote, without upsetting his image as a moderate.
So what exactly should Bill say to the kids?
If he tells them to go back to school, expressing concern about their future education, he will look like a heartless conformist crushing the first hesitant steps of young climate activists expressing their legitimate concern that their world is about to end.
If Bill says anything to suggest he supports the school strike, he’ll be pilloried as a radical anti-education zealot, encouraging students to stop attending school and risk blighting their future career options with bad grades. He’ll be politically beaten up every time the issue of falling child literacy rates is raised in parliament or by the media.
If Bill tries to seem non-committal, it will look like he doesn’t care.
The only solution which shows any promise is to hide whenever the kids show up, to prevent a meeting from occurring, at least until after the next Federal election.