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Friends of Australia Caucus Lead Bicameral, Bipartisan Coalition in Pledging Support to Australia Amid Ongoing Bushfire Crisis

January 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT-02) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08), and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the co-chairs of the bicameral Friends of Australia Caucus, made public a letter they led along with a bipartisan coalition of more than 30 Members of the House and Senate to Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey, expressing their full support for the people of Australia during the ongoing bushfire crisis. The full letter can be viewed online here, and the text is included below.

In their correspondence, the Members noted the longstanding alliance between the United States and Australia, which includes not only decades of support on battlefields around the globe, but also assistance in responding to domestic emergencies and natural disasters – including in 2018, when Australia and New Zealand sent firefighters to assist the United States in combatting wildfires on the Pacific Coast. In their letter to Ambassador Hockey, the Members wrote:

“We want you to know that the people we represent are closely watching this terrible event in which forecasted triple digit temperatures, high winds, and lightning have the potential to create megafires that will threaten thousands of lives and properties.

“Australia has not only stood alongside U.S. troops for decades on battlefields around the world, but has also done the same on the home front. Nearly 140 Australian and New Zealand firefighters worked alongside their U.S. counterparts in August 2018 in California, Oregon, and Washington as wildfires threatened Americans up and down the Pacific Coast. Australians deserve to know that they can always count on brave Americans to return the favor by standing with them as they defend their own nation abroad, at sea, and at home. 

“[…] 100 firefighters have been sent to Australia over the last four weeks, with more than 50 additional men and women planning to be deployed next week. Further, we welcome President Trump’s pledge of full U.S. support to Prime Minister Morrison on Monday, and will continue to work to support a federal response to the crisis. We are proud to see Americans shouldering this enormous burden and stand ready to assist in the deployment of all appropriate resources available through federal agencies, such as the Department of State or Department of Defense to abate this disaster. Australians have always answered our calls for support, and we will work to ensure that our nation does the same.”

The full letter and list of signatures can be viewed online, and the text is included below.