Greens Deputy Leader and Aid and Global Justice spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has questioned Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Penny Wong’s judgement in suspending life-saving funding to UNRWA without having all the facts.
In question time earlier this week, Senator Faruqi asked a direct question on whether the Minister had seen any evidence of claims by the Israeli government before her decision to suspend funding to UNRWA. The full exchange is available on Hansard here and on video here.
Senator Faruqi said:
“It’s not just wrong, but recklessly irresponsible when a Minister suspends such critical humanitarian funding without having all the evidence. One must wonder, is this a case of poor judgement or is Minister Wong happy to take just the word of Israel?
“After my questioning in the Senate, Minister Wong has been forced to admit what we knew all along; the Labor government has suspended UNRWA funding based on allegations, and without all the facts. Humanitarian aid should never be beholden to politics.
“The government acknowledging that UNWRA do life-saving work and then halting funding is hypocritical and misguided.
“There is not a minute to waste. The Labor government must immediately lift the suspension of UNRWA funding. In fact, there is a need to rapidly increase aid given the dire situation in Gaza.
“The most humanitarian thing would be for Minister Wong to take strong action to stop Israel from bombing civilians in Gaza.”