Petition demands Julie Bishop stand up for girls forced into child marriage

To arrange an interview with Susanne Legena, please contact Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905 jane.gardner@plan.org.au

The Campaign for Australian Aid’s petition to demand the government act on child marriage as part of repairing the aid budget has generated 11,000 signatures in just 10 days.  

The Change.org petition calls on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to restore aid funding for crucial programs to prevent girls from forced marriages.

Child marriage occurs at an alarming rate around the world with at least 14 million girls under the age of 18 married globally each year. It’s a practice that is set to continue with an estimated 140 million girls expected to become child brides this decade alone if current rates continue.

“We’re already feeling the devastating impact of Julie Bishop’s cuts to the aid budget with programs such as Plan Australia initiatives to stop girls being forced into child marriage in Indonesia, being cancelled,” said Director for Campaign for Australian Aid, Tony Milne.

“We’re asking Julie Bishop to announce, before the election, that her Government will match or better the Australian Labor Party’s promise of $800 million additional funding to Australian Aid over the forward estimates, starting with reversing the latest $224 million cut,” said Mr Milne.

“Australia can do better. It’s time to be a good global citizen.”

Susanne Legena, Deputy CEO of Plan International Australia, said despite the stripping of the aid budget, global consensus on the need to end child marriage has never been stronger.

“International efforts to end child marriage have built momentum for comprehensive action through a UN General Assembly Resolution and a zero target on child marriage in the post-2015 development agenda,” Ms Legena said.

“We’re part of the global movement that has the potential to be the first in history to take coordinated and collective action to end child marriage. The Coalition should be taking the lead by increasing aid funding, not depleting the aid budget further.”

Australians can sign the petition and help to build a fairer future for everyone via change.org.

The Campaign for Australian Aid is a joint initiative of the Make Poverty History and Micah Australia coalitions, for all Australians who believe we can and should do more as a nation to end extreme poverty around the world. It represents over 65 aid and development organisations, church, business and community groups. Authorised by Tony Milne, 1/4 Solwood Ln, Blackburn VIC. To arrange an interview with Mr Milne please contact Sarah Cannata on 0407 536 133 sarah.cannata@australianaid.org

Plan working in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. It runs specific campaigns to raise awareness of and prevent child marriage. Find out more at www.becauseiamagirl.com.au/learn-more