Here are my three important ingredients in understanding the foreign aid budget:
1. Tracey Spicer
2. Homer and frogurt
3. A late 80’s rap single from Public Enemy.
First, Tracey with amazing clarity:
But why is Tracey concerned about the government’s decision? And why are so many people of good will concerned?
Well, that brings us to Homer and frogurt. Remember this?
Last night’s budget had the government talking about their $500 million increase in aid. In the words of Homer Simpson, “that’s good”.
It might sound good at first, but like most government lines, it pays to look a little closer. This increase is really just spin for another broken promise. One that affects the world’s poor and will dramatically impact the life-saving impact that Australian aid can have.
For the second year in a row, the Government has chosen to delay its commitment to ensuring our aid budget reaches 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015. The goal has been pushed back to 2017/18.
What does this mean in dollar terms? Well, it means the world’s most vulnerable people have been short-changed by $1.9 billion as a result of this delay. “That’s bad.”
For me personally, one of the most concerning developments of the budget is the diversion of aid. The government will spend $375 million of the planned aid increase on domestic asylum seeker costs.
It’s no secret that I personally think the way our country treats asylum seekers is illogical, immoral and disastrous. And this latest decision means we are taking money from the poor to pay for our own mistakes. I don’t think this is what the Australian people want their foreign aid spent on. As First Home Project proves, there are real compassionate alternatives.
I recently had a Senator tell me, “The thing that’s incredible about the Movement to End Poverty is that here is a generation that is using their voice for those who don’t have a vote”.
So join me in letting the Coalition know they shouldn’t use Labor’s broken promise as an excuse to renege on theirs.
To close, some late 80’s rap music that kept playing in my head today. Don’t believe the hype. Thank you, Public Enemy:
Jarrod McKenna is a peace award winning activist who has come on board as World Vision Australia’s Advisor on Youth, Faith & Activism. Jarrod, his lovely wife Teresa and wonderful son Tyson are three of 17 people living at First Home Project; an innovative community welcoming and providing housing for refugees.