A Liberal MP Has Picked A Fight With A 15-Year-Old Kid With A Spray-Can
"It’s pretty intense to be bullied in the media by your local member of parliament over chalking on the footpath."
A Liberal MP has gotten his knickers in a twist over a teenager with a can of spray chalk.
Jason Falinski, Member for Mackellar in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, turned CCTV footage of a 15-year-old chalking climate messages on the ground into full-blown propaganda ahead of the Federal Election next Saturday.
Falinski’s team used the security video as part of his re-election campaign on Instagram late last month, showing a school-age boy writing ‘vote Jason Falinski out’ alongside some QR codes to climate action resources on the pavement outside the MP’s office.
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He accused the teen of vandalism, and alleged it was part of a wider conspiracy with activist groups GetUp! and Climate 200 — he gave two interviews last week with the Northern Beaches Advocate in which he repeated the claims.
“On the long weekend — Good Friday in fact — someone thought it would be a clever way to communicate their political points of view by graffitiing the office of the federal member,” said Falinski in his social media post.
The culprit-in-question, Christopher Black, responded to the allegations against him on Friday, saying it was “pretty intense to be bullied by your local member of Parliament over chalking the footpath”.
The 15-year-old hit back in a statement saying he even checked in with the police beforehand to see if it was allowed and spoke with them again after Falinski’s clip did the rounds to confirm he hadn’t engaged in any criminal activity.
Black said that he is an active member of School Strike 4 Climate, and was part of the group of young people who filed a complaint with the UN last year over climate safety concerns — however, he was not affiliated with the groups Falinski outlined.
“Climate disasters are getting worse and worse, and happening all of the time now. Almost everyone I know has some degree of mental health struggle relating to climate, and I’m trying to show that we need to speak up.”
After seeing his family holiday house in the Blue Mountains almost burn down during Black Summer, the teen then got caught in the middle of Cyclone Seroja during a trip to Western Australia, where he said a person died 10 feet away from him. Then this year, his school also flooded twice.
“How am I meant to focus on my schooling when the government is destroying my future?”
“I’ve tried emailing Mr Falinski about my concerns multiple times, but he never responded. Once, I saw him at the shops, so I tried talking to him about it then,” he said.”He basically just told me that I was too young to vote, that the government had it under control, and that I should just focus on my schooling.”
“Well I know I’m only 15, and that I’m too young to vote, but it’s my future so I’m determined to have a say,” said Black. “How am I meant to focus on my schooling when the government is destroying my future?”
The Liberals have held the Mackellar seat for 73 years in a row, according to The Guardian, which notes that Falinski is “running on his record of pushing for more action on climate change” internally within his party.
Black said he is planning a follow-up protest outside Falinski’s electorate office on Saturday with other local school students concerned about climate change, where he intends to use chalk on the footpath once again.