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Pacific people want true partnerships with Australia, not hand outs.
That was the message from church leaders to Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison in Canberra Monday.
“We do not seek a hand-out or a hand-up. We of the Pacific are a resilient people. We seek to journey hand-in-hand, for as we do so, we will contribute to the flourishing of both peoples,” Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend James Bhagwan said.
"Our journey with our Australian Christian brothers and sisters in Christ is an example is the kind of partnership the Pacific is looking for from Australia.''
Bhagwan said the Pacific leaders wanted to encourage conversations about how Australia could best love the region.
Regional church leaders joined 200 Australian Christians in Parliament to discuss Australia's Pacific Step Up.
Facilitated by the PCC with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Micah Australia, Pacific Church leaders will address the issues of climate change in the Pacific and human rights abuse in West Papua.
The Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga councils of churches attended the meeting with the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia, Kiribati Uniting Church and youth representatives of the Pacific Disability Forum and the Institute of Mission and Research.
Morrison welcomed the group to Parliament.
"We're grateful for the opportunity to meet with Australia's decision makers and to discuss what it means to be a part of the Pacific family," Bhagwan said.
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