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PM's first week sees cuts to polio eradication funding

With the world on the cusp to become polio free, the Greens have have expressed their dismay at the Australian government's cut to polio eradication funding by half.

"The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was started by an Australian in response to the worldwide tragedy that is polio," said Greens spokesperson for international aid and development Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"The complete eradication of polio is in sight. To back away from our full funding commitment to this initiative is incredibly irresponsible

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Leaked documents puts spotlight on Australia's self interest in Pacific

Following the leaking of text from the Pacific free trade talks, the Greens are calling on the Australian government to end negotiations and undertake the necessary social and environmental impact assessments.

A draft chapter titled "Development and Economic Cooperation" from the regional free trade agreement known as PACER-Plus has been leaked by the Pacific Islands News Association.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/nvk242n

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Speech: Greens' International Aid (Promoting Gender Equality) Bill 2015

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:18):

The inquiry into the Greens' International Aid (Promoting Gender Equality) Bill 2015 was very useful. Some excellent information was presented to us. There were 14 submissions from non-government organisations, as well as from the department. It certainly did highlight the need for legislative change. There was a range of suggestions of how this could be taken forward.

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Overseas aid loses out again - Australia joins block on tougher tax provisions

Commenting on reports that the Abbott government played a role in watering down the tax responsibilities of multinationals at an international conference on foreign aid, Greens overseas aid and development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"Australia's move to strike out a line calling on ‘full transparency' of payments from large corporations to ‘promoting transparency' is yet another example where the Abbott government has acted out of self-interest at the expense of developing countries.

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Burma aid cuts highlights Foreign Minister's portfolio failure

Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has accused the Abbott government of attempting to hide the impact caused by the latest $1 billion reduction in the overseas aid budget by failing to release details of the cuts.

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should publicly disclose what aid programs are being cut, when the cuts will occur and how the changes are being managed," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation)

Senator RHIANNON: Are you monitoring the current developments with the Export-Import Bank of the United States?

Mr Hunter : We are aware of some press and some of the developments there.

Senator RHIANNON: Have you considered the implications for export finance if the US Congress fails to vote to extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank? What do you see those implications as being?

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, I was hoping you would have this information because it would inform our deliberations today-if not, could you take it on notice. Could you provide the committee with a departmental breakdown-a table-of budget estimates for 2014-15 and 2015-16 for ODA eligible expenditure by all government departments?

Mr Varghese : That is probably already covered in what we have either on our website or in the budget document. But the chief financial officer may be able to add.

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Australia’s commitment to alleviating poverty – trashed

Greens spokesperson for international aid Senator Lee Rhiannon has said the Abbott government has trashed our overseas aid program with cuts totalling $11 billion since they came into office, with the bulk of the remaining aid budget directed away from programs targeting poverty alleviation.

"It is shameful that the primary purpose of aid programs under the Liberal/National government must be for Australia's national interest and not poverty reduction," Senator Rhiannon said.

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