MEDIA RELEASE: Abbott Government climate change inaction threatens Pacific Islands Forum, Wednesday 9 September 2015

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 

THE HON MATT THISTLETHWAITE MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFIARS
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR IMMIGRATION
MEMBER FOR KINGSFORD SMITH

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT CLIMATE CHANGE INACTION THREATENS PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM

The Abbott Government’s failure to take real action on climate change could derail the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) as several small island states threaten to walk out in protest.

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, labelled the Abbott Government a “bad brother” and called on Tony Abbott to support greater action to contain sea level rise which is threatening the existence of a number of Pacific island nations.

It is understood negotiations between the Abbott Government and other members of the 16 nation forum have served only to anger some of the Pacific nations who are now demanding Mr Abbott make meaningful concessions when he arrives at the forum in Papua New Guinea today.

Established as the South Pacific Forum in 1971 and later renamed the Pacific Islands Forum in 1999 this group has stood the test of time. Natural disasters and coup d'état couldn’t derail the PIF but Tony Abbott in one conference has managed to threaten the forum’s very existence.

Tony Abbott will be confronted by leaders from low lying small island states when he arrives at the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.

The Pacific Islands Forum members are right to be concerned with the Abbott Government’s lack of action on climate change.

When it comes to climate change these Pacific nations are the canary in the coal mine and Tony Abbott cannot ignore their cries for help.

Mr Abbott needs to listen to the leaders of the nations who are most affected by climate change. For these nations, inaction means the end of their existence.