Following the election of the Labor Party to form the next Federal Government, the CEO of charity for girls’ equality Plan International Australia, Susanne Legena said:
“Plan International Australia congratulates Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Labor team on their 2022 election victory, along with all candidates elected to Parliament. We are looking forward to working with the new government on making the world a safer and more equal place for girls and children here in Australia and all around the world. A better world, where young people can live happy and healthy lives, and where girls in all their diversities can thrive.
“This newly elected government is now in an ideal position to ensure young people, gender equality and human rights are at the heart of policy making decisions that truly benefit everyone. We look forward to action on the climate crisis, the adoption of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, an increase in funding for foreign aid to help the world’s most vulnerable, and a genuine commitment to making Australia’s Parliament safe and representative of our wonderfully multicultural and diverse country.
“On Saturday, we saw that Australians – especially women and young people – made crystal clear the issues that matter most to them: action on the climate crisis, inclusion, respect and gender equity.
“The call for real and urgent action on climate change could not be any louder. The new Labor government now has the opportunity to listen to young people who have been leading the movement for climate justice and heed their calls for more ambitious action.
“Climate change is the single largest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of people in the Asia-Pacific region – and it has a disproportionate impact on girls and young women. Climate change threatens to undo so many of the gains that we have made through Australia’s aid program. We cannot address poverty and inequality without addressing climate change.
“Throughout the election campaign, Labor committed to boost official development assistance by $525m to the Pacific, $470m to Southeast Asia and $32m to the Australian NGO Cooperation Program, an overall increase of more than $1 billion over four years. After years of successive cuts, this is a very welcome first step to restoring our aid program. It is the right thing to do.
“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we see support for Australia’s aid program, which delivers immense value and life-changing impacts. We urgently need to address the three big ‘Cs’ facing our region and the entire world right now: climate change, the ongoing impacts and fallout from Covid-19, and the devastating humanitarian crises unfolding right now – from extreme food insecurity in the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan to conflict and war in places such as Ukraine and Myanmar.
“The people of Australia have also demanded the safety and respect for First Nations people, women, girls, members of the LGBTQI+ community, and disabled communities.
“Plan International Australia entered this federal election with a simple ask from all parties: transform Parliament into an inclusive and safe arena that young people can aspire to be a part of, and that all Australians can be proud of.
“Throughout our campaign, both major parties committed in principle that Parliament should be more inclusive and safer.
“While some seats remain in doubt, the new Parliament will have greater representation of women and people of different ethnicities than ever before. From Linda Burney, the first ever First Nations woman set to be sworn in as Indigenous Affairs Minister, and Penny Wong, the first Asian Australian Foreign Minister to Independent Dai Le in Fowler, our first MP who came to Australia as a refugee – I am incredibly excited by the diversity and unique lived experience these new MPs and Senators bring to our Parliament across political divides.
“It is now critical that the new Labor government walks the talk through implementing within the next 6-12 months the holistic, tangible recommendations in the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Set the Standard report to ensure we tackle discrimination and misogyny in Parliament. They must also set targets for the representation of people of different ethnicities on top of their existing targets for the representation of women.
“Recent research by Plan International Australia found that three quarters of young women in Australia were turned away from politics because they did not believe it was a safe and equal space for women and people of colour. I hope that these young people – a generation of bright, powerful and diverse voices who we need to continue to be supported to transforming our country for the better – look at our new Parliament and believe that they can be what they can now see… that they can grow up with the idea that a career in politics or whatever they aspire to could indeed be possible for them.
Interviews available with young first-time voters and Plan International Australia CEO Susanne Legena.
Contact media advisor Claire Knox, 0452 326 549 / [email protected]