Hardcore greenies coach kids to skip school
TAXPAYER-funded eco-worriers are coaching children to skip school again next month, giving them detailed instructions on how to play truant, make posters and organise "marshals" for a climate change protest march.
The well-resourced campaign even provides "phone scripts" and "text message scripts" for children to convert their friends to the cause and tells them to fill out form letters to school principals for the March 15 school strike.
Despite claims the walkout is being "initiated" and "led" by volunteer students, The Daily Telegraph has uncovered extensive links between the hard line Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and websites providing logistics for the truant day.
It follows a similar strike in November, when thousands of placard-wielding students across Australia missed school to take to the streets.
Last night federation Education Minister Dan Tehan slammed the orchestration of the strike as "appalling political manipulation".
AYCC, which runs "social justice bootcamps" run by "seasoned activists" to train high school student "leaders" to become climate activists, has received $786,524 in government grants over the past three financial years.
It is an official administrator of the Facebook strike organising group School Strike for Climate Action, with AYCC director Kelly Albion and AYCC national schools program co-ordinator Laura Sykes listed as administrators.
Via the Facebook group, children are encouraged to sign up to the schoolstrike4climate website where they are given regular messages, scripts, posters, links to local groups and form letters to send to their teachers.
"We are temporarily sacrificing our educations (sic) to save our futures (sic) from dangerous climate change," the website for the site, schoolstrike4climate, claims. "Australia is in the thick of the climate crisis."
On the site, there are "sample phone scripts" where kids are urged to "spread the word" to other students.
"Why not text/phone your friends/supporters to let them know about the strike?" the promotional template says. "Here are some sample words you could use. Hi [insert name] - climate impacts are worsening, an election is around the corner and Adani is ploughing ahead with building their massive coal mine."
Adani's planned Carmichael coal mine in Queensland would be one of the largest in the world.
Children's emotions are also being played upon - they are told to write they "feel sick" when they see and hear about climate change and to send this out in chain emails.
Promotional material, also used in last year's strike, claims "half the Great Barrier Reef is dead", "flash flooding is creating chaos in our cities" and "our government is trying to help billionaire coal companies like Adani build massive new mines which will only make climate change worse".
Last night a spokeswoman for AYCC said it had provided "logistical support" and "leadership training" but said the strike was an "independent movement".
"When asked by the core student leaders behind the strike, AYCC has provided logistical support and leadership training," she said.
Education Minister Mr Tehan said parents have a right to know "who is influencing their kids, what are their real motives and who is paying for it".
"The Australian public will be cynical about a so-called student-led strike that is actually organised and orchestrated by professional activists," he said. "What is most appalling is this political group is organising their protest on March 15 when all schools and students across Australia are being asked to take part in the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence to stand up to bullies and support the victims of bullying."
Under the template letters for the school strike, children are told to write to their local federal MP:
"I am very worried about climate change because (insert reasons). Will you meet with me to have a discussion about this and how we can get more action happening to stop dangerous climate change? With hope (insert name, age, home town)."
Among the cheat sheets given to children are Excel spreadsheets on co-ordinating groups, timelines, writing media releases and organising marshals. Another document tells teachers to "assure parents who may be uncertain or opposed and support your students".
The domain for schoolstrike4climate.com is registered in the US by a "Perfect Privacy" company in Jacksonville, which boasts its function is to keep registration details secret.
In its promotional material the website states: "Who is behind the School Strike 4 Climate Action? Volunteer school students are! We are a grassroots student-led network." But the contact phone number for media listed on the site is the same phone contact for the media officer for the AYCC, which was set up in 2006 as a charity.