Christian women leaders raise their voices in Canberra
Photo: UnitingWorld National Director Sureka Goringe, Leprena UAICC Tasmania Manager Alison Overeem and UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer in Canberra
Forty women leaders from a coalition of churches and Australia’s leading development agencies joined together in Canberra today urging our political leaders to address the ‘two-track pandemic’ with poorer countries increasingly being left behind in the fight against COVID-19.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer joined the Micah Australia coalition along with Alison Overeem, Manager of Leprena Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) Tasmania. UnitingWorld National Director Sureka Goringe was part of the initial planning for the delegation.
“It has been encouraging to join with other Christian leaders in advocating for our global neighbours, who are deeply affected by the global pandemic,” said Dr Palmer.
“It is important that we work together as churches in advocating for a compassionate Australia that contributes generously to the flourishing of our global neighbours.”
“Jesus calls us to love our neighbour and our embodiment of this love in a world of suffering is to compassionately and generously give, so that all have the abundant life that is God’s vision for us all.
“The important message we have shared today is that the pandemic is not over, until it is over for all of us.”
The leaders met with Senior Ministers and Members of Parliament from both major political parties, drawing their attention to the issue of global vaccine equity and the most urgent knock-on impacts of the pandemic on the world’s lower income nations: rising extreme poverty, famine, and the further marginalisation of vulnerable groups.
Despite the provision of significant temporary measures of over $1.3 billion in additional aid financing to help our neighbours respond and recover from the pandemic, Australia continues to tumble down the ‘global aid generosity rankings’ (which looks at a nation’s aid budget relative to its Gross National Income) - falling from 14th in 2015, to 21st in 2020 out of the 29 richest nations in the world.
Delegation spokesperson, Rev Dr Melinda Cousins, Director of Ministries for the Baptist Churches of South Australia said: “We’re here to say to Australia’s politicians that whilst Australia has made a good start in responding to the needs of our neighbours, as the virus evolves, so too must our response.”