High expectations for the world’s poor

The Hoopla asked some of Australia’s most eloquent, outspoken and passionate women to tell them what they thought of Australia’s election result. Our CEO Maree Nutt was one of them. Here are her observations .

The Coalition election-eve promise to slash $4.5 billion dollars from foreign aid looks set to become a reality. Instead, those billions of dollars are to be invested in infrastructure projects providing Australians with better roads and motorways.

The winners  will be Melbourne’s East West link ($1.5 billion), Sydney’s WestConnex ($1.5 billion) and the Brisbane Gateway Motorway upgrade ($1 billion).

I am devastated to think that millions of people around the world could miss out on life saving vaccines, bed nets to prevent malaria or basic schooling so that we can get from A to B faster and smoother.

Only last year, both major parties were committed to increasing Australia’s aid to 0.5% of gross national income by 2015. The Labor Government pushed that timetable out by two years and also diverted aid funds to pay for asylum seeker costs. With the Coalition announcement last week, it has emphatically won the ‘race to the bottom’ on the aid issue and their decision will soon become a reality.

As individuals, we Australians are a generous lot.

In Tony Abbott’s electorate alone, 54,000 individuals, 1500 corporates and 72 church and community groups support overseas aid either through donations, activism and volunteering.

Many of them have ben very vocal leading up to the election, including 3,000 on Manly Beach just over 2 weeks ago spelling out the message “Halve Global Poverty” on the sand.

We cannot allow the new Abbott government do this to the aid budget. Now, more than ever, we need to press for change and not accept this mean-spirited representation of Australian values.

We are still the lucky country. We can still afford to be generous to the world’s poor … and have our new roads too.

Click here to read the observations from all of The Hoopla’s Women With High Expectations.

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