2 July 2022

New hope for action on refugees, climate and Indigenous Australians

Now that Australia has voted, Christian leaders hope the new government addresses the issues it promised to prioritise. Image: thelittleplatoon1790

Kirralee Nicolle

23 May 2022

Some Christian leaders are hoping for “a new era” with the election of a new government, after a landslide federal election which saw Labor leader Anthony Albanese become the new Prime Minister.

Anglican Overseas Aid chief executive Jo Knight said she felt as if the changed government meant there were new possibilities, and that she hoped it meant the start of a new era.

She said she hoped for vision and leadership from the Labor government, particularly in the areas of climate and foreign aid.

Ms Knight said that since the last election, Christian volunteers across the country had been praying for their representatives, and that positive changes from this election proved that many prayers had been answered.

“I felt emotional seeing the new Prime Minister commit to the Uluru Statement [from the Heart] and a commitment on climate action,” Ms Knight said.

“Christians have been part of [this] change-making movement,” she said.

Ms Knight also encouraged readers of The Melbourne Anglican to hold their representatives to account and to not let them forget the promises they made prior to the election.

She encouraged readers to write handwritten cards to their MPs and think of further ways to develop a relationship with them.

“Help them remember the poor and the need for action on climate justice,” Ms Knight said.

“Let them know you are praying for them and share with them some of the areas you are passionate about.”

“[Tell them] that you hope they lead with wisdom and courage in those areas.”

Read more: With an election looming, here’s what Anglicans had to say

Aboriginal Christian Leader Brooke Prentis was also hopeful that Prime Minister Albanese’s embracing of the Uluru Statement from the Heart meant that Indigenous Australians would be better prioritised under a Labor government.

“I encourage everyone to get behind the Statement, however you voted,” she said.

“We have waited 250 years for the healing that comes from truth and justice, and that finally seems possible,” Ms Prentis said.

Ms Prentis also said she was encouraged to see that the first Aboriginal woman was set to become Indigenous Affairs minister under the Albanese government.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney was the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.

But Ms Prentis added that she was “cautiously optimistic” about the new government.

Micah Australia executive director Reverend Tim Costello said that the key issues for him in this election were integrity of leadership, climate change, refugees and stronger regulation around sports betting advertising.

He said he was encouraged to see that the newly-elected so-called ‘teal’ independents shared these values.

The teal independents who gained seats this election were all female and included pediatric neurologist Dr Monique Ryan in the electorate of Kooyong and former ABC journalist Zoe Daniel in Goldstein.

Mr Costello said that it was clear that women were seeking integrity and accountability from the Prime Minister following the allegations of sexual misconduct in Parliament House which surfaced last year.

“The big message from this election is that women spoke, in fact they roared,” Mr Costello said.

He said that Christians needed to maintain pressure on Labor to deliver on their election promises.

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