Children should protest on weekends or after school rather than participating in tomorrow’s walkout over climate change, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.
Tomorrow thousands of students from across the country are expected to leave school to demonstrate against government inaction on global warming.
But Mr Shorten was not in favour of the school strike.
“Kids are allowed to have an opinion,” he told reporters in Melbourne this morning.
“In an ideal world, they would protest after school hours and on weekends.”
But he said it was “a bit rich for the government to lecture schoolkids”.
“This government’s been on strike about climate policy for the last five-and-a-half years,” he said.
“They’re really not the best role models for the kids on climate policy, are they?”
The protests will be held in the major capitals and dozens of regional centres, mostly around midday.
Yesterday NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley offered his support to the student demonstrators.
“They do have a democratic right to assembly, they do have a right to protest,” he said.
“I support these young people and their action.”
But NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes wasn’t afraid to play truant officer.
“The law is clear and always has been, kids are required to be at school on school days,” he told 2GB.
“Around a fifth of the year, there is no school so there are plenty of occasions for kids that are passionate about a whole range of issues to engage in extracurricular activities.”
The protests were inspired by a 16-year-old schoolgirl named Greta Thunberg, who started the first school strike in Sweden in August last year.
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