Labor leader Bill Shorten, a former Australian Workers Union national secretary, says students planning strikes should “ideally” do so “after school hours or on weekends.”
Shorten told reporters on Thursday that in his view “kids are allowed to have an opinion,” but that “in an ideal world, they would protest after school hours and on weekends.”
OL Bill Shorten on tomorrow's #Strike4Climate: "Kids are allowed to have opinions" but says "ideally" they would take action "after school hours or on weekends".
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) March 14, 2019
Shorten did, however, take aim at the Coalition for lecturing school kids when it has been “on strike about climate policy for the last five-and-a-half years.”
“They’re really not the best role models for the kids on climate policy, are they?” he said.
A day out from when the protests are set to kick off, people were less than impressed with the opposition leader’s comments.
*WHAT DO WE WANT*
"renewable energy but not too much and also massive new coal mines and fracking and offshore gas extraction and new LNG refineries"
*WHEN DO WE WANT IT*
"ideally after school hours and on weekends"
— Scott Ludlam (@Scottludlam) March 14, 2019
union hero @billshortenmp: “strikes are bad”
— max (@MaximumWinter) March 14, 2019
ACTU are you listening? Strike after work, brilliant new plan from Bill.
— Dermot (@Dermot1955) March 14, 2019
— BIN LORDS (@MRacMC) March 14, 2019
Greens MP Adam Bandt called Shorten’s comments “gutless,” saying students had every right to walk out of school.
This is gutless.
“Protest climate after school hours, Shorten tells kids.”
Does Labor believe workers seeking higher wages should only strike after working hours too?
Students going on #schoolstrike4climate have every damn right to walk out of school.
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) March 14, 2019
Thousands of students from all over the world are set to ditch school this Friday to protest a lack of action from governments on climate change.
On Thursday, NSW Opposition leader Michael Daley said he supported the students and believed the event would help them realise their own personal power.