THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
MORE OVERSEAS AID CUTS
MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014
Labor is very concerned about new reports the Abbott Government is set to make further cuts to the overseas aid budget.
Instead of ruling out further aid cuts, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, today took the extraordinary step of using a World Aids Day event to admit that if her Government’s unfair Budget wasn’t passed they would be looking elsewhere for savings.
Already the Abbott Government has cut our aid budget by $7.6 billion, the largest single cut in the Federal Budget, and on the back of the world’s poorest people.
Julie Bishop says “the flagship of our foreign policyis ouraid program”. By her own test, Ms Bishop is conceding that by crippling our aid budget, she is crippling our foreign policy too.
Julie Bishop has repeatedly failed to win the support of her Cabinet colleagues for overseas aid, with cut after cut. How many more times will she be rolled by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey?
Before the election, the Coalition promised to increase the aid budget by the Consumer Price Index, but after the election made $7.6 billion in cuts.
The Coalition said it would focus aid on our region, but instead cut $110 million from aid to the Asia-Pacific.
The Coalition promised certainty on overseas aid, but all it has delivered is uncertainty and cuts.
More cuts to foreign aid could not come at a worse time when we know that aid is an essential tool in building international security.
Constant speculation about the aid budget puts enormous pressure on the great work done by international aid organisations, and risks Australia’s reputation as a responsible global citizen.