90 second statement – Stay in school
Mr PITT: I put to you this: what is it we want for our schoolchildren at school? I want them to learn about reading and writing and arithmetic. I want them to be taught how to think, not what to think. I don’t want them to be pulled out for protests in school time; I want them to be at school. I want them to take every single opportunity to learn. I don’t want them to listen to people like Tim Flannery and quotes like this, ‘climate predators in our midst’. ‘Climate predators’ are the words he is now using, trying to ramp up the rhetoric. I think that is a terrible proposal. If you are a schoolchild, your job is to go to school. If you are a parent, you want them to be there. If you want to protest and join what is known as the Global Climate Strike, do it in your own time. Put it on a weekend; do it after school hours; take the opportunity. I say to those organising this: see how many individuals show up on a Saturday afternoon in the midst of netball, soccer, cricket and everything else. I recall, as a schoolchild, that any opportunity to get out of school was a great opportunity. It didn’t matter what it was, but you took it and you got out really quickly. We want our schoolchildren to be academics, not activists. For those individuals who wish to protest about this issue: take the opportunity outside of school time. We don’t want these students losing time from school when they could be learning, and that is what they are there for.