International Aid & Development

Lee is the Australian Greens spokesperson on international aid and development and has a long-standing interest in this area. Prior to working with the Greens, Lee co-founded and spent five years as the Director of AID/WATCH, dedicated to monitoring the social and environmental impact of Australia's overseas aid program.

In 2012 Labor and the Coalition walked away from a bipartisan commitment to increase overseas aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015. Australia is playing the bad neighbour in a region with some of the highest rates of poverty and child malnutrition in the world.

The Greens believe that Australia, as a wealthy nation, has a responsibility to contribute our ‘fair share’ to poverty alleviation in less developed countries and devote 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income to overseas aid by 2015.

But there is much more to it than increasing the dollar amount spent on aid.

Lee is campaigning to ensure that Australia’s spending on aid is transparent and accountable and that projects are not harmful for local communities or the environment. The key purpose driving the Australian aid program should be alleviating poverty, not promoting our national political and commercial interests.

In 2012 Lee secured support for a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s aid program in Afghanistan. You can read more it here.

As part of this she uncovered the Defence Department wrongly categorised almost $190 million in military spending as foreign aid.

Lee is currently working on:


Speech: Mekong River dam

19 Nov 2012

Senator Rhiannon spoke about the construction of the Xayaburi dam across the Mekong River by Laos and Thailand, and the role of Australian companies and aid money in this project.


Speech: World Toilet Day

19 Nov 2012

Senator Rhiannon spoke in the Senate about World Toilet Day.


Budget estimates - Lee questions AusAID on aid for Nauru or Manus Island

18 Oct 2012

Lee questions AusAID on the possibilty of aid money going to the building of offshore processing facilities on Nauru or Manus Island or aid being used as a sweetner to secure a deal with Nauru or PNG governments


Senate Estimates: FADT Committee

18 Oct 2012

Senator Rhiannon asks questions of AusAID on issues of overseas development aid in the context of Latin America and about the use of foreign aid to manage people seeking asylum in Australia


Time To Bring Troops Safely Home From Afganistan

04 Oct 2012 | 6:00 pm

Christine Milne will deliver a speech to the Sydney Institute on Afghanistan, and why we need to bring our troops home


Government and Coalition fail to protect endangered orangutans

10 Sep 2012

The Government and Coalition failed to help protect the criticially endangered Sumatran orangutan


Question without Notice: Sen Rhiannon to Carr on overseas aid spent on Nauru/PNG refugee detention

24 Aug 2012

Greens Senator and spokesperson for overseas aid Lee Rhiannon asked a question without notice to Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday in the Senate as to whether aid money will be spent on building, staffing or maintaining detention facilities on Nauru or Manus Islands. Mr Carr would not rule this out.


Bob Carr reveals Australian foreign aid money may be spent on Nauru/PNG

24 Aug 2012

Greens Senator and spokesperson for overseas aid Lee Rhiannon asked a question without notice to Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday. Mr Carr would not rule out overseas development assistance going to building, staffing or maintaining detention facilities on Nauru or Manus Island.



Motion: Aid funding for family planning

16 Aug 2012

This motion calls on the Government to continue to fund family planning, including funding for initiatives that assist developing country governments to improve access and reduce barriers to family planning in the 2012-13 budget and beyond.


Afghan aid boost welcome, checks needed on support for mining industry

09 Jul 2012

Greens Senator and overseas aid spokesperson Lee Rhiannon today welcomed plans to increase Australia's aid contribution to Afghanistan but warned that benefits for Afghan people may be limited if there is too much focus on aid money being used to open up Afghanistan to overseas mining interests.

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