Most Australian families operate on a budget. So do companies, clubs and societies, and churches. And so, of course, does the federal government. Beyond the figures, a budget is a strong indication of an organisation’s core priorities, while changes from year to year show how those priorities fluctuate.
Last week’s federal budget was a dog’s breakfast of policy detail, and the political spin cycle worked overtime to convince and confuse us all.
But one very pleasing commitment from Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan was an increase in the aid budget of almost $500 million, which will keep the government on track to meet its projected aid commitment of 0.5 per cent of national income by 2015.
This is still only 35 cents in every $100, and falls far short of the 0.7 per cent that aid agencies and churches believe is just and achievable for Australia.
But it will mean more opportunities for social transformation among the world’s poorest people, and many more lives saved. And in the final analysis, that’s well worth the cost.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, Sunday 15 May 2011.