The Pacific Islands need good neighbours

Posted on October 2, 2015

Solomon Islands

Annie and Rebecca, from the Solomon Islands, whose village was devastated by Cyclone Ita in March last year.

The following letter from AFAP’s CEO Christine Murphy was the ‘Letter of the Week’ in the Friday 25 September 2015 edition of the North Shore Times.

 

Pacific Islands need good neighbours

ST LEONARDS-based aid agency AFAP Action on Poverty is calling on the Federal Government to be a better neighbour to the Pacific islands when it comes to climate change.
Pacific islanders rightly see climate change as a threat.

It’s high time we accepted the science and started protecting ourselves and our vulnerable friends in the Pacific from sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

Pacific island leaders and non-government organisations expressed dismay at the former Abbott Government’s apparent flippancy on the subject, after the Pacific island forum in Port Moresby concluded with a refusal by Australia to cut emissions or to increase aid to help developing countries cope with climate change beyond existing commitments.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was later overheard joking with the Prime Minister about “Cape York time” and the impact of sea levels in the Pacific. 

“Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door,” quipped Mr Dutton.

It is frankly unbelievable that, instead of showing leadership, our political leaders are laughing about what is potentially the biggest issue facing our region today.

Our partners in the Pacific islands are furious, and have asked: “With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

CHRISTINE MURPHY, AFAP chief executive officer