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‘What will it cost?’: Greens leader struggles to answer a simple question from Neil Mitchell

Coordinated climate change strikes are happening around the world later this month, and the Victorian Greens want public servants to be paid to attend.

On September 20, School Strike 4 Climate protests are scheduled at various locations around the state.

Samantha Ratnam, Leader of the Victorian Greens, has put forward a motion to State Parliament suggesting that public servants be allowed to go without having their pay docked.

But Ms Ratnam struggled to answer a basic question from Neil Mitchell — how much paying public servants to attend the rally would cost.

Neil had to ask the question eight times before he got an answer…

Neil: What will it cost?

Samantha: We’re in a critical moment when it comes to the future of our planet. We’ve got the next generation staring down a future that will be fundamentally different because of climate change, and these young people are scared…

NM: What will it cost?

SR: Look, the costs of climate change are already upon us… 

NM: Fair enough, if you think the cost is worth it, but you can only make that assessment if you know what it is. What will it cost us to pay the public servants to go on strike?

SR: Look, what we’re asking for is for as many people who want to attend the rally to attend the rally…

NM: Do you know what the cost is?

SR: What we do know is the cost of not acting will be much greater than a few hours of business not being able to operate at the level it normally operates at.

NM: Yes, that’s true, but it’s part of the job of the parliament and the government to balance the books. Do you know what it will cost to pay the public servants to go on strike?

SR: Look, what we do know, as I mentioned, is that we will be paying an inconceivable cost to everyone if we don’t act.

NM: Please, if you don’t know just say so and we’ll move on.

SR: Look, we want as many people as possible to attend this rally…

NM: So we don’t know what it costs.

SR: Well look…

NM: I’m not going to give up. If you don’t know just say so.

SR: We don’t know what the short term costs will be but we do know the long term costs will be much, much greater.

Press PLAY below to hear how it unfolded on air.

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