Beware! Children Wearing Elmo Backpacks Want To Kill The Prime Minister!



Sky News appears to have dropped all pretence of sense and credibility, and I’m talking about after giving former journalist turned political adviser Chris Kenny his own show.

Yesterday, Kenny invited Institute of Public Affairs author Bella d’Abrera – reportedly known to her friends as ‘Alphabet Bella’ – on to discuss the growing angst among children about their future… specifically climate change.

What subsequently transpired is difficult to describe.

Kenny asked: “The climate change debate, and the way we had all the school students yet again, out in a protest, a strike last Friday. What’s your view the way that students, school students in particular, are being involved in these protests?”

d’Abrera’s response is, well, I have no words, so here it is….

“Look, I think it’s a really sad indictment on society when you’ve got children with, you know, Elmo backpacks, essentially threatening the Prime Minister with death. Umm I can’t imagine that anyone would have guessed five years ago that that would be where we would be at in society in 2019.”

Absolute horseshit. New Matilda guessed precisely that six years ago. The only part we got wrong was the Prime Minister (it’s hard to keep up these days). You can read the exclusive story here. It’s a cracker.

It’s also hardly the point. The real question is, from whence did these shocking revelations and threats emanate?

The claims appears to have come from an article syndicated across News Corp sites late last week, following the climate change protests. It began in the Daily Telegraph, of course, and went something like this:

“If you let us vote, none of this would happen” yelled a boy with an Elmo backpack. “We just want to kill ScoMo.” “We have kazoos and are not afraid to use them,” shouted another, before heading off with mates for some pizza and slurpees.”

Brilliant. Where to start….

So there was one Elmo backpack, and that kid didn’t threaten anyone. Which explains d’Abrera’s use of the phrase ‘essentially threatening the Prime Minister with death’. Code for ‘No-one with an Elmo backpack threatened to kill the Prime Minister, but where’s the alarmist story in that?’ And more to the point, where are our ‘Be Alert Not Alarmed’ fridge magnets when we need them?

Alarmist and lover of vowels, Bella d’Abrera.

And then another kid said he had a kazoo and was prepared to use it. Which in my opinion should have been in the headline and the lede par, because it’s genuinely newsworthy. Like other ‘respectable Australian journalists’, I also actively pretend that violence doesn’t excite the absolute shit out of my journalistic senses, but even I would be spraying journalist juices everywhere at the sight of a kid wearing an Elmo backpack killing our Prime Minister with a kazoo. Or killing anyone with a kazoo. THAT would be a news story.

But let’s be fair here: some other kid may have said they want to kill ScoMo. But then let’s put that back in perspective – it’s reported in the Daily Telegaph so, you know, grain of salt.

Even if it’s true, still meh. I was a teenager once. If you could have pried me away from ‘Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards’ long enough to get me to a protest, I can imagine me and most of my friends saying something like that. And for the record, I was a teenager a lot more than five years ago.

But back to the ‘facts’, because unfortunately, d’Abrera wasn’t quite done pissing all over the universal notions on basic reason and common sense.

“You know the image of these girls weeping on television, genuinely terrified that they’ve got 12 years until the end of the world, and you know calling the Prime Minister a monster. But this is all coming from the parents and the school teachers. This is totally irresponsible that this is the kind of ummm world they’re creating for these children who are anxious and crying. I mean it’s just appalling.”

Because teenagers aren’t ever anxious and crying on their own. Although now that I think of it, the science suggests the ‘world we’re creating for them’ is actually already pretty scary, so they’ve got quite a bit to be anxious and crying about. You know, all those countless warnings from the world’s sharpest scientific minds about the impending climate disaster, warnings which Sky News has devoted considerable resources to dismissing.

All up, it’s a pretty tawdry affair. Albeit with a kazoo in it, and one Elmo backpack. You can watch the video of Kenny’s Next Big Scoop below, although a warning: by the end of it you might feel like your life has no future and will end catastrophically some time soon.

And now you know how the kids feel.


Chris Graham Facebooks here, tweets here, and is available by email here. You can support his work and the work of other New Matilda writers by subscribing here – it starts at just $6 a month.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.