School kids set to take action on climate change next month
A Green activist group which receives millions of dollars in foreign donations is running "climate strike nights" in an attempt to "supersize" a school climate strike.
Surry Hills-based Sunrise Project - which a number of sources have revealed is funded in part by a number of wealthy US foundations - is actively promoting the September 20 day of truancy.
Despite claims the climate protests are spontaneously organised by students, The Daily Telegraph has exposed extensive support and logistics provided by extreme Australian green groups such as the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
Now it can be revealed the Sunrise Project has also been authorising "climate strike nights", hosting events in pubs, homes, halls and online to "build excitement" among children and make it "massive".
"Join this #StopAdani webinar to hear how you can run an epic Climate Strike Night in your community and help to supersize the September 20 #ClimateStrike," the promo, signed off by "S. La Rocca, The Sunrise Project", states. Another promo says: "Climate Strike Nights are community get-togethers where you build excitement about the September 20 #ClimateStrike and get people involved in making it massive. Together we'll take the day off for climate justice."
Sunrise Project director Sam La Rocca, a former chief of staff to Greens MP Adam Bandt, is one of several directors of the group, which also includes European Climate Foundation director Aviva Imhof.
Mr La Rocca's political authorisation has since been pulled from the group's websites, but remains in Google's cache. On Sunday the charity said the Australian Electoral Commission "only requires authorisation of potential electoral material during electorally relevant periods".
Last year, The Sunrise Project received $9.7 million in grants and donations, but did not disclose what portion was from foreign donors except to state that 12 per cent of "total expenses incurred" by the group were from "grants and donations outside Australia".
"While our funding is publicly disclosed we support the right of donors to privacy, particularly when supporters of climate action can be diverted from their important work by baseless attacks," executive director John Hepburn said.
Senator Eric Abetz, who has campaigned for transparency of activist groups, said Australians would be concerned at the "manipulation" of children.
"The so-called Sunrise Project is seeking to sunset our children's future," he said.
"It's apparent the people behind this, including Adam Bandt's former chief of staff, are running a political agenda … encouraging students to strike is a public disservice to students. This is not a spontaneous student strike but overseas money cynically manipulating our young and every Australian should be concerned."
Mr Hepburn said: "Students initiated the September 20 Climate Strike and called on everyone to join them as well as help promote the event."