Don’t steal from our aid budget

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott

This week the Federal Opposition announced a proposal to defer $448 million of foreign aid to Indonesia as part of its opposition to the Gillard Government’s flood levy.

On June 21 last year, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told a public meeting that he supported a government commitment on 0.5 per cent of national income in overseas development aid by 2015.

But on Tuesday this week, Mr Abbott wasn’t so sure.  He said the Federal Opposition remained committed to the 2015 goal, but added that “it’s not necessarily a commitment for the next couple of years.”

For those who are hungry, sick and dying, that’s not a welcome statement.  Of all the spending our political leaders might choose to defer on account of the cost of rebuilding after recent natural disasters, poverty reduction in the world’s poorest regions should not be among them.

The need for action is urgent.  We have a moral responsibility to honour our national commitment to global poverty reduction.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 13 Feb 2011.

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