By RESULTS’ awesome advocate and Hobart group member Jeremy Picone.
Australia’s new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is fond of saying “we live at the most exciting time in history”.
I couldn’t agree more – the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals have taken us halfway to ending extreme poverty! And with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, 2015 is an unprecedented moment for global action for people and the planet.
But continued progress is not inevitable, and we turn now to our leaders to play their part in adopting and resourcing the goals to become a reality.
Prime Minister Turnbull’s past comments suggest that he will fully support them.
Here are 17 great Turnbull quotes from interviews and speeches over his career that bear a striking resemblance to the Global Goals:
On tackling poverty (Goal 1)…
1. “Jesus said, ‘The poor are always with you,’ but are we always with the poor? The extreme poverty and hunger which grips more than a billion children and their families around the world is all too often overlooked as we struggle with other issues which appear to be more immediate or perhaps more soluble.”
On achieving food security (Goal 2)…
2. “It is a vital element of our national interest… We must recognise that food security is going to be a critical issue. It is perfectly plain that a larger global population will need more food.”
On gender equality (Goal 5)…
3. “I think I am, and most people regard me as very much a feminist.”
4. “The percentage of women in the parliament itself is not as high as it should be.”
5. “The issue of family violence, or domestic violence as it’s often called – which is just violence against women which is the way I would prefer to describe it – is an enormous one. It has been overlooked, to some extent ignored, for far too long… We must have zero tolerance for it… We have got to be very determined to eradicate it.”
On addressing water scarcity (Goal 6)…
6. “It may be that, in the decades to come, water scarcity in China and India will be as significant an issue for Australians as water scarcity in our own country is… We must be clearly focused on… improving the efficient use of water and enabling us to produce more food with less water—in other words, to make every drop count.”
On fostering economic growth (Goal 8)…
7. “The most effective antidote to poverty is economic growth. From 1981 to 2001 it was a growing world economy that saw the proportion of the world’s population living below $1 a day decline from 33 per cent to 18 per cent.”
On resilience against natural disasters (Goal 11)…
8. “We share a common humanity with… the victims of all disasters. It is that humanity that ties us together all around the world, regardless of where we live… As coast-living people we had a great and immediate empathy with that disaster [the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami], recognising its nature and recognising how it could have come to affect us.”
On climate action (Goal 13 and a bit of 12)…
9. “The consequences of getting our response to climate change wrong will not likely be felt too severely by us, or at least not most of us, but will be felt painfully and cruelly by the generations ahead of us. And the people in the world who will suffer the most cruelly will be the poorest and the people who have contributed the least to the problem. There is an enormous injustice here.”
On conserving life below water (Goal 14)…
10. “Short term the trade-offs can look like a zero-sum. A win for the environment is a loss for the fishermen. But longer term, the ability to preserve environmental assets enables their continuing use on a sustainable basis.”
On sustainable management of forests (Goal 15)…
11. “Deforestation also contributes, tragically, to global poverty… This must be turned around. And it can be… Let there be no mistake—successfully addressing deforestation and forest management is an essential part of any effective global response to climate change.”
On promoting good governance and the rule of law (Goal 16)…
12. “Good governance is the basic building block for development.”
13. “When we talk about foreign aid and the alleviation of poverty around the world, the Australian government is right in focusing its aid efforts on improving governance. Invariably, countries that are well governed and that have a system of democracy that works or a rule of law that is maintained will be able, all other things being equal, to develop a prosperous society where there are opportunities for all.”
On peace and global partnerships (Goals 16 and 17)…
14. “Whether the threat of terrorism, the proliferation of mass destruction, the challenges of climate change or the need to advance global free trade, Australia can engage best in strong, principled action when, alongside allies and partners, it can build the critical mass for an effective international approach.”
On equitable trade (Goal 17 plus a bit of 2 and 8)
15. “The reality is that the developing world needs more trade, not less… The World Bank estimates that developing countries would gain over US$100 billion a year if the developed world removed its trade barriers against developing country exports… Countries unlike Australia who are comparatively long on aid and short on trade freedom are working at cross-purposes.”
On enhancing aid commitments (some more of Goal 17 and a bit of 1)
16. “I believe we should continue to increase the resources devoted to overseas aid, both in dollars and as a percentage of gross national income…”
On global citizenship (all the Goals!)
17. “Everybody around the world, all of us, are each other’s brothers and sisters, and when any of us are hurt or when any of us are subject to a disaster then we all suffer. We relieve that suffering by showing our compassion and our generosity in the way we have done.”
There’s a lot in these quotes that match The Global Goals!
Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Turnbull reflected on the way ordinary Australians got involved to support their global neighbours: “The question, I suppose, when we talk about compassion and the generosity of our community is: how can we ensure that this continues?”
Well, Prime Minister…
The power is yours!
Bonus quote from the maiden speech of Australia’s newest Treasurer, Scott Morrison!
“We are a prosperous people, but this prosperity is not solely for our own benefit… As global citizens, we must also recognise that our freedom will always be diminished by the denial of those same freedoms elsewhere, whether in Australia or overseas… Our attention in this area cannot be limited only to areas of strategic self-interest. It must be pursued as the responsibility of our common humanity… We have all heard the call to make poverty history. Let us do this by first making poverty our own personal business… The need is not diminishing, nor can our support. It is the Australian thing to do.”
This piece was originally posted by Global Citizen.