Tasmanian conservative Liberal Party politicians say Launceston school children are being "manipulated", deny the climate strike movement is grassroots and claim the students' demands would result in another "carbon tax".
Several thousand people, including students from schools across Launceston, attended the climate strike rally in Civic Square on Friday as part of the worldwide movement. It was believed to be the largest rally in Launceston since the 2006 protests against the Bell Bay pulp mill.
Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz was concerned about the students' involvement in the rallies, and claimed the attendance was only because the event took place during school hours.
"Those that have been manipulating these rallies deliberately do so because a lot of students - and I suspect what I would have been like as a student - the opportunity to miss a day or part of a day of school is always very enticing, irrespective of what the reason might be," he said.
"Who has organised it? They didn't all spontaneously decide, each individual school, to do so.
"It has been organised, and if you have a look at the people behind it you see the green activists et cetera, good luck to them, in a democracy they can do that, but please don't suggest that this is somehow generated organically from the grassroots up."
Mr Abetz received multiple letters from school children in the lead-up to the rallies voicing their concern at environmental issues stemming from climate change.
Mr Abetz said he had responded to each letter with "the facts", including his assertion that worse wildfires had occurred in Tasmania in the past and occurred periodically regardless of the climate.
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"One for example told me that half of the Great Barrier Reef was dead, and I responded and said 'where on earth did you get that information from? I trust your teacher didn't tell you that because it's just untrue'," he said.
Tasmanian Minister for State Growth Michael Ferguson also had issues with the protests, and said people needed "to be alert" about the underlying message of immediate action on climate change.
"If the key messages from some of these protest movements were taken on board, we'd see a carbon tax, we'd see a hit to the economy and we'd be losing thousands of jobs including at Bell Bay," he said.
"Here in Northern Tasmania we can't afford that, we don't want that, and Tasmania is the renewables champion of the world."
Tasmania is approaching 100 per cent renewable energy generation, but emissions rose in 2018/19 from all industries except forestry.