MEDIA RELEASE: Australia-Pacific Relations Under Strain at Climate Conference

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

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

AUSTRALIA-PACIFIC RELATIONS UNDER STRAIN AT CLIMATE CONFERENCE

Australia-Pacific relations are being tested at the Paris conference as Pacific Island leaders continue to rebuke Malcolm Turnbull for failing to do more in the fight against climate change.

 

US President Barack Obama met with Pacific Island nations at the conference.  Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum praised the US President for helping to give small Pacific nations a strong voice in the negotiations. 

Minister de Brum said during the conference the Australian Government had “not been very supportive of our goals” and suggested Australia was losing its leadership role in the Pacific.  “There is a lot of room for improvement for Australia to return to its former leadership role in the Pacific,” he said.

President Anote Tong of Kiribati has been scathing of Australia, saying Mr Turnbull had failed to go into bat for the low-lying Pacific nation.  "They've not been doing any batting at the moment for us,” he said.

The events of recent days, both at home and abroad, have shown the Abbott-Turnbull Government does not take climate change or the desperate plight of the Pacific Islands seriously.  That includes the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s performance yesterday in Question Time where she made light of the fact our Pacific Island neighbours are already suffering the disastrous effects of climate change.

If Mr Turnbull wanted to help our Pacific Island neighbours, he wouldn’t be defending Tony Abbott’s sad excuse for a climate change policy.

It’s little wonder the Pacific Islands have been so underwhelmed by Mr Turnbull’s performance.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government needs to get off the sidelines and take a leadership role in addressing climate change.