Slashing foreign aid? Not good enough!

Jacqui Lambie (an Australian politician from the state of Tasmania) has called for the cutting of the foreign aid budget but has rejected an invitation to visit some of these projects to see the difference they make.

Lambie is unrepentant.

I make no apology for putting poor Tasmanians and Australians first – before any other country’s people. Charity begins at home.

I despair of such a narrow-minded view that puts our interests before those of anybody else. Yes we have a responsibility to help our own, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of helping others. Cutting foreign aid will literally lead to more preventable deaths.

Of course Lambie isn’t the only politician to support slashing the aid budget. Late last year, the current government announced the largest cuts ever to the aid budget: a cut of 33% over 5 years. (The previous record was 17%.) It was also the largest cut for a single year: $1 billion (or 20%) in 2015-16. (The previous record was 12%.)

Foreign aid is an easy target and so it faces frequent cuts. Rather than getting closer to the OECD goal of 0.7% of  gross national income being devoted to overseas development aid, we are becoming less and less generous. (And when Labor was in government they also slashed foreign aid.)

Ratio of overseas development aid to gross national aid. (Sources: Development Policy Centre)

Ratio of overseas development aid to gross national aid. (Source: Development Policy Centre)

At a time when the gap between the worlds rich and poor is widening, this is not good enough. I get embarrassed when I hear Australian’s talking about how generous we are – these figures certainly don’t support the claim.

The vision of the 8 Millennium Development Goals failed to get the support it needed from the nations of the World. If other countries follow Australia’s example, the situation will not be improving any time soon.

The 8 Millenium Development Goals

The 8 Millenium Development Goals (Source: United Nations)

If you liked this post you might want to follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. The widening gap between rich and poor – Time to even it up.
  2. The life you can save by donating
  3. Why I support Oxfam
  4. 10 ways to reduce your consumption
  5. Asset-based community-driven development in Ethiopia
  6. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)?

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
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