Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Budget: Foreign Aid
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 334, relating to Australia's foreign aid budget.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that the Federal Government has announced a review of Australia's foreign aid program;
(b) notes with concern that:
(i) Australia's foreign aid budget has been cut by 27% since its peak in 2012-13, and is well below the average for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),
(ii) the Liberal Government cut $117 million from the aid budget in 2019-20 – if current trends continue, Australia’s foreign aid program will be in the bottom third of all OECD countries by 2020-21,
(iv) aid programs in south and east Asia have been cut drastically, and
(v) the Liberals' budget cuts and political repurposing of aid to serve Australia's self-interest have decimated our foreign aid program;
(c) calls on the Federal Government to ensure the review is conducted independently and the findings are shared publicly; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) increase our foreign aid budget, and
(ii) use the review as an opportunity to reset their approach to foreign aid and put poverty reduction, climate resilience and social justice at the heart of our foreign aid program.
The government is advancing Australia's national interests by supporting a secure, stable, prosperous and resilient region, whilst securing Australia's future through sound economic management. Our focus includes an emphasis on economic partnerships in South-East Asia, where many countries are undergoing rapid economic transformation, and we have made a record commitment of $1.4 billion in development assistance for the Pacific this financial year. Unlike those opposite, whose approach has been rejected at the 2013, 2016 and 2019 elections, the Morrison government will continue to operate an affordable and targeted aid program that advances and responds to our national interests.