I attended the climate strike rally in Canberra yesterday, and was impressed by the number of people in attendance, which I estimated to be about 15,000. However, my expertise in estimating crowd sizes is limited. What I found inspiring were some of the children from Grade 6 (!) to Year 12 who spoke at the rally. When I was their age, I’d have been mortified speaking to a crowd larger than my family, but these kids were speaking to thousands and doing so with aplomb. It gives me hope for the distant future when there are now children of such ability and such confidence able to get their message across so well. This is the same reason I was depressed by the whole business, because it is children begging our generation to consider their future. The fact that all the government politicians whom I saw interviewed either whined about children not being at school, or dismissed their concerns about the future. One of the most childish efforts was by former Liberal opposition leader in the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Legislative Assembly, Jeremy Hanson. He tweeted:
“These are the noisy Australians who lost the Federal election while the quiet Australians are busy at work or continuing with their education. Gesture politics and virtue signalling at its finest”1
Apart from apparently believing that those too young to vote lost an election, there is a certain bitterness detectable in Hanson’s response. This is perhaps because his leadership of the ACT opposition was perceived a failure and his political career is clearly in decline, and because the Liberal Party have been out of government in the ACT for almost 18 years. They are so bereft of policies that they do not look like being elected to government in the near future. It is also clear that the ACT branch of the Liberal Party is embarrassed by its association with the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party, replete as it is with regressive religious nutters. This is because the ACT is one of the most progressive jurisdictions in the nation, with a higher percentage (36.2%) than the national average (29.6%) of people professing to have no religion2, and with 74.0% of those in the ACT who voted, delivering an emphatic yes in the voluntary same-sex marriage plebiscite3, the highest of any state or territory in the nation.
On top of this, the ACT will be the first jurisdiction outside Europe to move from a fossil-fuel-based electricity supply to 100% renewables and the ACT government did it more quickly and cheaper than planned4. So, despite the federal government denying climate change, and despite Jeremy Hanson’s disparagement of children and others at the climate rally, the electricity supply to Parliament House, the ACT Assembly, and Jeremy Hanson’s home will be entirely renewable. The irony is probably lost on the pathetic Hanson.