Greens spokesperson on overseas aid Senator Lee Rhiannon says it is disappointing that both Labor and the Coalition have shown their hand by voting against a motion protecting overseas aid from further budget cuts.
Motion - 14 March 2013
That the Senate-
1) Notes that:
a) The United Nations' endorsed target to meet the Millennium Development Goals is for developed nations to devote 0.7 percent of GNI to foreign aid by 2015 yet Australia currently contributes a mere 0.35 percent.
b) Both Labor and the Coalition went to the 2010 election with a commitment to increase aid to 0.5 percent of GNI by 2015.
c) In the 2012/2013 budget, Labor pushed back by a year its commitment to increase aid to 0.5 percent and the Coalition removed its timetable altogether.
d) Since the 2012/2013 budget the government has directed $375 million from the aid budget to pay for the onshore costs of detaining refugees, and the Australian Defence Force has had to re-classify almost $190m claimed to be overseas development aid as military spending.
2) Calls on:
a) the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ensure that the overseas aid budget does not suffer further cuts in the May 2013/2014 budget;
b) the Government and Coalition to publicly reaffirm their commitment to the UN's endorsed target of 0.7% and to release their timetable for reaching the target.