'He’s defying scientific fact': Striking students confront Tony Abbott on climate change

Students have once again taken to the streets, two weeks out from the federal election, to make sure climate change remains front and centre of political debate.

Thousands of students across Australia have skipped school for the third time to demand their elected representatives act on climate change, just weeks out from the federal election.

More than 70 strikes organised by the School Strike 4 Climate group took place outside the offices of Federal MPs on Friday, joining hundreds of similar protests around the world.

Students protest outside the Liberal Party Headquarters in Melbourne.
Source: AAP

"Today the youth of Australia showed our politicians that we’re not going anywhere. We’re just getting started," 17-year-old Ruby Walker said.

"We will keep striking and raising our voices until our politicians show the leadership that our generation deserves."

The biggest showing of strikers was in Melbourne where more than a thousand people gathered outside the Liberal Party HQ, causing the building to be shut down and a street closed off. 

Protesters outside Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office in Cronulla.

In Sydney, more than 100 students descended on Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Cronulla electoral office, while another large contingent rallied outside Labor MP Anthony Albanese's Marrickville headquarters.

Thousands of students across the country are banding together to demand action on climate change

Over in Warringah - one of the most closely watched seats this election - hundreds of primary and secondary school students gathered outside former PM Tony Abbott's office, before catching him later at a Manly cafe.

School kids hold handmade signs at a student organised protest outside Tony Abbott's office.
Source: AAP

Two Warringah residents, Elsie Loadman and Yasmin Lin, both 15, confronted Mr Abbott and made clear what they wanted to see.

"For me, and especially for all of my peers, we just think that climate change is such a big issue and we just want you, as my representative because I live in Warringah, to understand that we want climate action now," Elsie said.

But Mr Abbott responded that the financial cost of climate action was high and added that it was his duty, as their local member, to "tell them to truth not just agree" with the students.

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"He was just denying all the scientific facts," Yasmin said.

"I was so mad that I couldn't speak for a period of time."

Protesters in Warringah held signs - including "what I stand for is what I stand on" and "we're not the ones that need to be in school"  demanding climate policy.

Students also gathered in Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide and across regional Australia. 

Climate change is expected to be a key issue in the upcoming election and has coloured Mr Abbott's battle against independent Zali Steggal, who has made the issue her major policy. 

Published 3 May 2019 at 6:20pm
By Maani Truu