Foreign Aid Reflects Our Australian Values

Gina Olivieri | Sunraysia Daily | 15 May 2017

SUE Packham’s letter (Sunraysia Daily, May 12) makes some excellent points, and the various letters published on foreign aid have been interesting to read.

What is disappointing is the way our government has succeeded in pushing an “us or them” narrative – the idea that we can only afford to help ourselves, or help people overseas. This is total rubbish.

Overall, government spending has increased, yet aid has been slashed and has carried more than 30 per cent of the burden of cuts while accounting for less than 1 per cent of the whole budget.

Believe me – if aid was being cut to fund Australian schools or pensions it’d be hard to argue with that – but they’re not.

It’s a matter of priorities, and this government has continually shown disdain for the poorest, whether they’re within our borders or not.

Budgets are complicated, confusing documents, and they are that way for a reason, to keep regular people like us from understanding them too well.

But one thing I do know is that when we think we can only afford to help “Australian battlers” or “poor people overseas”, fund Australian schools or build schools overseas, fund life-saving vaccination programs for Australian kids or children overseas; the econobabble has won.

I want all Australians to have what they need to build the life they want and live with dignity.

I want that same thing for people all over the world, and expect our aid to play a part in that.

Massive cuts to aid don’t reflect that character, and we should demand better.

 

Gina Olivieri 

Kingston Beach (TAS)