TRANSCRIPT – PRESS CONFERENCE – MURAL HALL
16 Feb | '2023
Angie Bell MP
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth
Federal Member for Moncrieff
PRESS CONFERENCE – MURAL HALL
16 February 2023
Subjects: Parliamentary Friends of UNICEF, Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.
Well, a little over nine days ago, the worst earthquake in 100 years struck Syria and Turkey. A 7.7 degree magnitude earthquake followed by a 7.5 degree magnitude earthquake with 1,600 aftershocks. This earthquake has devastated Syria and Turkey.
In a population the size of 21 million, we now estimate six million children will be impacted by this crisis. Six million children, more than all the children in Australia combined caught up in this most deadly disastrous natural earthquake.
We have been overwhelmed by the support of the Australian Government, of every single state government around Australia for their support for the people of Turkey and Syria. The Federal Government has now committed $18 million of urgently needed support for the region. Every single state government has now contributed over $4 million in support.
We’ve been thrilled by the support for the Australian people. They have opened up their hearts and their wallets to support their friends and community in Syria and Turkey.
Today in Canberra I’m joined by Sally Sitou and Angie Bell for the launch of the Federal Parliamentary Friends of UNICEF. The support of both Sally and Angie is absolutely fundamental to our work in ensuring that we can deliver much needed aid and support to the people in Syria and Turkey.
Those six million children right now require food, shelter, water, medicine and safety. UNICEF is on the ground right now. UNICEF water tankers are driving up and down the streets of Aleppo. We’re ensuring that children are receiving the basic essentials of life that they need. Whether that be clean, safe drinking water, food, warm clothing, and shelter.
People ask ‘what does hope look like?’ Hope looks like a child in disaster centre picking up a crayon for the very first time. UNICEF is providing that hope. Your support for UNICEF Australia means that we can get more support on the ground to those children who are so desperately in need. I want to hand over to Sally.
SALLY SITOU MP:
Thanks Elliot. During this incredibly difficult and heartbreaking time, like Elliott said, it is a time that we should all be coming together to offer those in Turkey and Syria some hope, one that the Australian Government is there to help support and that the Australian people are there to support them. And my call is to Australian companies, step up and support those in need in Syria and Turkey as well.
I was fortunate enough to be able to join the worshipers at the Philippine mosque in Auburn for their Friday prayers last week. It was an incredibly moving experience, and they are deeply grateful for the generosity that the government, as well as the Australian people are showing them and their community.
I’m really happy to be the co-chair of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of UNICEF along with Angie Bell. This is such a fantastic organisation. I worked in international development in the Asia Pacific region for a number of years and saw firsthand the important work that UNICEF are doing on the ground. And again, they’ve shown us the important work that they are doing in getting in and supporting children during times of crisis. So very happy to be supporting them.
ANGIE BELL MP:
Thank you, Sally, and I’m very pleased to be co-chair of UNICEF. Thank you, Elliot for being here today to launch Parliamentary Friends of UNICEF. The great work that UNICEF do around the world in over 190 countries where they provide help, they provide aid. The work they’re doing in Turkey and Syria at the moment, providing food and water and safe places, safe spaces for children and young people, particularly those very, very young children who have been pulled from the rubble, and we’ve seen those images on television.
Our heart goes out to those in Turkey and in Syria and of course those in Australian communities as well from Turkey and Syria. Our thoughts are with you and our prayers are also with you.
I just want to highlight the work that UNICEF do around the globe in over 190 countries, just across the Asia Pacific region alone, delivering access to early childhood education for over 35,000 young children. This is extraordinary work from UNICEF, an organization who does terrific, terrific work across our region, and of course here at home as well in Australia.
So along with Sally, I would encourage Australians to give generously for the earthquake that is so devastating for so many across the Syrian region and of course in Turkey as well. So thank you to UNICEF for the work that they do. As the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth, this is an area that I’m very passionate about, to make sure that we can keep children safe and keep young people safe during this terrible process. So thank you very much.
Elliot, just a question for you. If I guess people will want to support earthquake victims in Turkey, how do they do this? Does UNICEF need money or supplies?
The size and scale of this disaster is unprecedented, and the need is unprecedented as well. The need is now, the urgency is great. By supporting UNICEF Australia, you can ensure that those six million children receive the water, food and shelter they so desperately need.
Absolutely every dollar counts go to unicef.org.au and you can support those children in Syria and Turkey.