James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Australian-born MP pushes for parliamentary action on bushfires
7 January 2020, 14:37
Catherine West is petitioning the Speaker of the House to address the Australian bushfires in Parliament.
Catherine West, a Labour MP who was born in Australia, joined Shelagh Fogarty in the studio.
She spoke about raising the issue of the Australian bushfires in Parliament today.
She said: "We're joining together across party to ask the Speaker of the House to just in some way mark what has just been the most horrendous start to 2020 for Australians and for the wider environment, of course.
"So fragile there around the fauna, the flora and just the incredible loss that people are feeling. So I'm really pleased. I'm hoping, you can never predict what a speaker will do in the House of Commons, but I'm hoping that Lindsay, who's a big fan of Australia because he's a rugby league man and so he's been there and very committed, and I'm sure he will allow us in some way as the all-party group to mark that."
She also spoke about how they're trying to reach out to the parliamentary union around the commonwealth parliament to "not just express solidarity but also to ask other parliaments to think about the fragility of our environment."
West said: "When a state like Australia declares martial law, basically, that the government can just bring in armed forces and can act in that way, it is right up to a warlike kind of proportion.
"I think that's partly what is driving the emotion behind a lot of this.
"It's not just the images and the terrible loss but it's also they are on a state of alert and I think that's very, very upsetting, worrying for all of them.
"But also, there is a longer term message in there for us all as parliamentarians, as citizens wherever we are."