Last week, I was visited in my office in Parliament House by representatives of Micah Challenge, a global movement of Christians committed to speaking out against poverty and injustice around the world. While I am not a person of faith, in my engagement with faith based groups like Micah Challenge, who I have met on several occasions, I have been struck by the power of their advocacy and their deep commitment to working with elected decision makers and the community to build a better world on an ecumenical basis.I was struck by the passion and commitment of those I met—Ryan Kallmier, Tony Dawson, Phillip Johnson, Rhonda Johnson and Andrew Miller—to real action on alleviating poverty in our region and around the world and the essential moral calling that we face to take action on climate change, particularly in relation to our neighbours in the Pacific.
Their comments reflected a real challenge for me, for all elected representatives and for our new Prime Minister, particularly when it comes to his credentials on climate change. But, of course, it is more than that; it is about our moral commitment to those less fortunate than us around the world. We know in this place that the greatest cuts made by the Abbott-Turnbull government went to foreign aid, affecting those who are voiceless in this place, except when we choose to give them a voice—so I do so now. I thank those involved in Micah Challenge for their selflessness. I look forward to doing justice for their vision for a socially just and peaceful world.