Employers, unions and governments around the globe are urging people to walk off the job today to join students in what organisers claim will be the largest climate protest in history. For the first time adults are being asked to join the growing student strike movement, initiated in August last year when Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg began skipping school on Fridays to protest against climate policy inaction. More than 100 protests are planned in Australia, with thousands of Australian employers allowing their employees to attend. The Victorian and ACT governments have made arrangements for public servants to join. More than 250 Australian academics signed an open letter backing the movement, writing: “It is unconscionable that we, our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of this unprecedented disaster.” Federal Liberal Party backbencher from New South Wales, Craig Kelly, urged students not to join the rally, telling them: “everything you are told is a lie. The facts are, there is no link between climate change and drought.” Human-induced climate change has been linked with droughts that occurred as far back as 1900.
On the global stage: More than 4500 demonstrations in at least 130 countries are planned, with trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people backing the movement. The mass mobilisation takes place three days before Thunberg addresses an emergency climate summit at the United Nations in New York, which will feature about 60 heads of state. On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison flew to the United States to meet with US president Donald Trump, but neither have plans to attend the summit.
Mental health: Former prime minister Julia Gillard has addressed CEDA’s State of the Nation Summit in Canberra on Thursday regarding the impact of mental health on the workforce. The Beyond Blue chair told the conference “eight million working days are lost due to mental ill-health in Australia each year”. She was speaking after the release of a key report that found mental health concerns were the main reason people visited their GP. A separate study released today found dementia was also a growing issue. The World Alzheimer’s Report 2019: Attitudes to Dementia, warns that the number of Australians living with the condition is predicted to double to more than a million by 2058.
SAS murder allegations: Federal police detectives travelled to Afghanistan to gather evidence implicating Australian special forces soldiers in the murder of a handcuffed detainee, according to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. An ABC investigation in 2017 revealed details of alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers. Government investigators raided ABC headquarters for documents related to the stories. The story comes as Guardian Australia reports that the home affairs department told the parliamentary inquiry on press freedom that compiling information on the number of warrants sought to investigate journalists would be an “unreasonable diversion of resources”.
Bondage lawsuit: Entertainer and Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns has launched a defamation lawsuit against News Corp Sydney tabloid, The Sunday Telegraph, for claiming he regularly visited a Sydney BDSM brothel for up to 18 hours a day. In a Facebook post, Johns said the claims were “humiliating” and that he had not been to the club before and “never even knew of its existence”.