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:


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.


AusAID project at risk in Palestinian Territories - Susiya demolitions

03 Jul 2012

An AusAID project in the Palestinian territories is at risk of demolition.  AusAID has identified that poverty levels in the West Bank and Gaza are currently 24 per cent and 56 per cent respectively, and that there are over 4.9 million Palestinians living as refugees in need of humanitarian assistance.


Greens secure support for inquiry into aid in Afghanistan

29 Jun 2012

The Australian Greens last night secured support for a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s aid program in Afghanistan (terms of reference below).


Motion: Aid for family planning

28 Jun 2012

Lee has given notice of a motion calling for an increase in aid funding for family planning, with a special emphasis on investing in comprehensive rights-based approaches that eradicate social and cultural barriers


Prime Minister appointed to global aid group: Time to reverse budget cut to aid

21 Jun 2012

The Prime Minister’s appointment by Ban Ki-Moon to co-chair a global leadership group on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 should prompt an immediate reversal of her Government’s decision to delay meeting Australia’s commitment, the Australian Greens said today.


Senator Lee Rhiannon on ABC TV 24 talking foreign affairs

17 May 2012

Senator Lee Rhiannon speaks to ABC TV Capital Hill's Lyndal Curtis, alongside Labor MP Mike Kelly, about foreign aid and defence issues.


Liberals join Labor in abandoning foreign aid commitment

09 May 2012

The government and opposition joined forces to vote down a Greens motion seeking to reaffirm the tripartite commitment to the target of at least 0.5% of gross national income going to overseas aid by 2015

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