For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 19 May 2013.
In 2000, Australia was one of 189 countries that signed the Millennium Development Goals, a bold aim inspired by Christians to halve world poverty by 2015. It was estimated that developed countries would need to set aid budgets on 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income to meet the goals.
At the 2010 federal election, both major political parties pledged to lift aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2016. Last year, Foreign Minister Bob Carr deferred by one year this bipartisan commitment, saving the Government $2.9 billion over its forward estimates.
This week, the Government deferred its commitment to increase aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI again, and diverting $375 million of overseas aid to pay for processing of onshore asylum seekers.
As Simon McKeon, executive chairman of Macquarie Group, put it: “When our political leaders make a promise to the world’s poorest people, we must keep them accountable to those promises.”
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.