THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
JULIE BISHOP’S AID CUTS COVER UP
After more than $11 billion of cuts, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop now presides over the weakest foreign aid program in Australian history.
In a desperate attempt to cover up her cuts, Ms Bishop is now trying to pad out the foreign aid budget by counting the cost of things like overseas military and security assistance. Australia has never before included those sort of costs as part of its foreign aid budget. That’s because it would be contrary to OECD standards about what can be counted as foreign aid.
Reportedly, Julie Bishop’s newly embellished figures would be published in a new document - what’s been dubbed the ‘Green Book’.
This new opaque reporting strategy has been deliberately designed by Ms Bishop to muddy the waters, in the hope that no one will notice the extent of her massive aid cuts.
The truth is that Julie Bishop has failed to make the case for foreign aid in Cabinet. Which is why, at every stage, she has done everything to avoid scrutiny.
Ms Bishop is the first Foreign Minister in more than 20 years who’s refused to release a foreign aid ‘Blue Book’ as part of the Budget. The ‘Blue Book’ is a ministerial statement that sets out comprehensive financial information about the foreign aid budget, including country and regional allocations, information about priorities, and reports on progress and results. Instead, Julie Bishop’s come up with the ‘Green Book’ idea – just a catalogue of spin about her ailing aid program.
Because of Ms Bishop’s cuts, by 2016 Australia will spend just 22 cents in every $100 of our national income on foreign aid – the lowest ever. Over the next decade, that is set to decline further, to 17 cents in every $100.
Clearly, Julie Bishop’s ‘Green Book’ proposal is nothing but a cover up for her aid cuts.