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Cut out activism, minister tells students

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A senior federal government minister has condemned a protest planned by Australian school children, saying they are only going to learn how to join the dole queue.

Thousands of Australian school children are planning to walk out of class to demand federal government action on climate change. The ‘Strike 4 Climate Action’ will involve children in capital cities and 20 regional centres such as Ballarat and Newcastle.

The strike, inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish school girl’s activism, is expected to gather hundreds of students in Sydney’s Martin Place on Friday at noon to kick off the national protest action.

But Resources Minister Matt Canavan said he wants kids in school learning about how to build mines, do geology and how to drill for oil and gas “which is one of the most remarkable science exploits in the world”.

“These are the type of things that excite young children and we should be great at as a nation,” he told 2GB on Friday.

“Taking off school and protesting? You don’t learn anything from that.

“The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue. Because that’s what your future life will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge for your life and getting a real job.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this week said the nation needed “more learning in schools and less activism”.

Sydney student Jean Hinchliffe said her generation’s future was on the line.

“We are sick of those in power failing to stop the climate crisis,” the 14-year-old said in a statement.

“We are striking to tell our politicians to stop all new coal and gas projects and take immediate action to move Australia to 100 per cent renewable energy.”

The rally is inspired by Greta Thunberg, who went on strike on September, ahead of Sweden’s national election, demanding the country’s leader to do something about climate change.

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