ERC Media Release: Pacific Island Elders React To Albanese Win

Pacific Island Elders and former Heads of State H.E. Anote Tong and Hon. Enele Sopoaga, have reacted to the election of Anthony Albanese as the new Australian Prime Minister.

H.E Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, said: "The people of Australia have chosen a new government and I congratulate Anthony Albanese on his election as Prime Minister. It is no secret that I have been disappointed with the attitudes of the previous Australian Government towards the Pacific on a number of fronts, including climate change. My hope is that we will see stronger and more urgent climate action from the incoming Government, including a more ambitious emissions reduction target, ramped-up support for climate-vulnerable communities in the Pacific and most importantly, a commitment to no new coal and gas projects in Australia.  As I previously commented, the Albanese government's plans to bid for an Australian COP in cooperation with the Pacific are welcome. However, this cannot be used to greenwash Australia’s inadequate climate policies. Australia must make genuine commitments to achieve large reductions in both domestic and exported emissions."

Hon. Enele Sopoaga, former Prime Minister of Tuvalu, said: "I welcome the incoming government and congratulate Anthony Albanese on his victory. In light of the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in July, and the ongoing climate crisis and its impacts in the Pacific, I can only hope that this new Australian Government will make a radical shift towards strong and urgent climate action and genuine support for the Pacific. This would include radical new Australian targets for emissions reduction under the Paris Agreement, no new coal or gas, and an ongoing commitment to supporting Pacific Island nations as we face the brunt of climate impacts.

Time is running out on climate change not only for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like us in the Pacific, but also for Australia and the rest of the world. Our security, together with our survival, is at peril. There is URGENCY not for more talks and COPs, but for concrete actions on greenhouse gas emission reductions, and also on funding for loss and damage and concrete adaptations for the Pacific SIDS. Save the Pacific Islands to save the world."

Corinne Fagueret, Coordinator of the Pacific Calling Partnership initiative at the Edmund Rice Centre, concluded: "There is no doubt that the Morrison government's lack of ambition with regard to climate action has been met by Pacific Island nations with disappointment, sadness and frustration. A radical change of course by the Albanese government in this respect is a must to ensure that Australia's relationships with its Pacific Island neighbours can thrive into the future.

For more information and interview requests, contact Ms Corinne Fagueret on Ph: 0421 831 889.

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