House debates

Thursday, 8 September 2022


Micah Women Leaders Network, Global Hunger

4:49 pm

Carina Garland (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yesterday, on 7 September, I had the great pleasure of meeting with members from the Micah Women Leaders delegation. I met with Edwina, Rachel, Sylvia and Tracy, who were part of a much larger delegation of senior women leaders from Australian Christian churches who were meeting with over 45 MPs—I was just one—from all sides of politics to discuss their Help Fight Famine campaign. It was a really enlightening meeting. I found out that currently we have 828 million people in the world experiencing hunger, and that is a shocking figure. In the work the Micah Women Leaders delegation have done they've been able to advocate for the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. This is the fourth annual delegation that the leadership group has undertaken, and it included 40 women leaders representing over 12 different denominations advocating together, which I think is a wonderful example of collaboration.

Micah Australia is a coalition of Christian international development agencies and churches, under the leadership of Reverend Tim Costello. It empowers Australian Christians to advocate on the most urgent global justice issues affecting our world today: extreme poverty and hunger, rising conflict and climate change. I think it's significant that climate change legislation has gone through both Houses in this place today, because it is not just an issue that affects us here in Australia; it is a global problem. I'm so glad that Australia is finally—at last—contributing to meaningful solutions for our planet.

We are experiencing a combination of crises in the world at the moment. The global hunger crisis has been exacerbated due to the pandemic, climate change and the war in Ukraine. It's a perfect storm for an unprecedented hunger crisis. The number of people facing acute food insecurity in the world has soared from 135 million to 345 million. I know that this is an issue that people in my electorate of Chisholm care very strongly about. Taking action to address extreme hunger in the world is one of the top issues that I receive correspondence from my constituents about. That doesn't surprise me, because my constituents are very caring people who believe very strongly in social justice issues and the need to advocate to representatives like me to take action. I'm really grateful for the fact that the community is so outspoken about these issues, because that means I can effectively represent them in this place, advocate for solutions and be accountable to the people who voted for me.

The UN declared on Monday this week that in Somalia famine is at the door and will strike at any time. A significant threshold has to be crossed to have a famine declared, and it is really alarming that we are seeing that in the world at the moment, in Somalia. We know that we can't, as one nation, solve these issues in the world by ourselves, but we do need to be part of the global effort, just as we've been part of the global effort to address the crisis in Sri Lanka and to address climate change issues. I know that Australia is looked to as a leader across the world for our capacity to respond compassionately to crises like this.

There are several growing hunger hotspots in 2022—in Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan. Of course, all of our communities here in Australia have people who have come from those countries and who have families in those countries still. It is desperately worrying for those people to see what is going on overseas, and they desperately want Australia to be a part of the solution.

I was really honoured to be one of the MPs approached by the Micah Women Leaders delegation. I made a commitment that I would speak on this issue in this chamber, and I am really pleased that I've been able to do so so soon after meeting with them. I look forward to working with the relevant ministers in our government, with the Micah Women Leaders Network and of course with my community in Chisholm to continue to advocate for solutions and to see what Australia's role will be in addressing these wicked global problems that my community cares very, very deeply about—as do I.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

And, finally, I give the call to the member for Fowler.