Thursday, 14 March 2013
International Development Assistance
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1177 standing in my name relating to the importance of the overseas budget and the need for the government and the coalition to publicly reaffirm their commitment to the UN endorsed target of 0.7 per cent.
I move the amended motion in the terms as circulated in the chamber:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the United Nations (UN) endorsed target to meet the Millennium Development Goals is for developed nations to devote 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) to foreign aid by 2015, yet Australia currently contributes a mere 0.35 per cent,
(ii) both the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition went to the 2010 election with a commitment to increase aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015,
(iii) in the 2012-13 Budget, the Government pushed back by a year its commitment to increase aid to 0.5 per cent and the Coalition removed its timetable altogether, and
(iv) since the 2012-13 Budget the Government has directed $375 million from the aid budget to pay for the onshore costs of detaining refugees, and the Australian Defence Force has had to re-classify almost $190 million claimed to be overseas development aid as military spending; and
(b) calls on:
(i) the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Bob Carr) to ensure that the overseas aid budget does not suffer further cuts in the May 2013-14 Budget, and
(ii) the Government and Coalition to publicly reaffirm their commitment to the UN endorsed target of 0.7 per cent and to release their timetable for reaching the target.