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International Aid and Development

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Milne and Rhiannon Press Conference: Overseas Aid

CHRISTINE MILNE: Thank you very much for coming along today. I’m very pleased that Senator Rhiannon and I have been joined by a number of young people who do believe that there are people in the world who are entitled to a fair go, and that is the recipients of Australia's overseas aid programs. Australia is a rich country, we are very well off in the scheme of things and we can afford to pay our way when it comes to overseas aid.

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Australian Defence Force loses track of 65% of its Afghanistan military aid projects

The Australian Greens have called for the Minister for Defence to inquire into why the Australian Defence Force has no information about 65% of the military aid projects it has funded in the Uruzgan province, why it does not evaluate them or know if they have been subject to attack ("Defence's build and forget line cops flak in Senate", SMH today http://tiny.cc/i08cuw). 

These revelations emerged from a Senate inquiry into Australia's aid program in Afghanistan initiated by Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon. 

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Australia should join Britain and commit to 0.7% GDP foreign aid spending

The Gillard government should feel shame that it has fallen well behind a debt laden conservative British government who in yesterday's budget announced it will spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on foreign aid this year, says Australian Greens foreign aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"Australia's economic health is far superior to Britain yet Minister Bob Carr is too stingy to commit to 0.7 percent which Britain, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands are now committed to allocating," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Motion: Syrian crisis

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (15:30): I, and also on behalf of Senator Moore, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) it is 2 years since violence erupted in Syria, an estimated 70 000 people have been killed and more than 1 million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, with an estimated 2.5 million people displaced inside Syria and an estimated 4 million people requiring humanitarian assistance,

(ii) Syria's hospitals have been damaged with a third no longer functioning and there is a shortage of medicine,

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Motion: Tuberculosis

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (15:35): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 24 March is World Tuberculosis Day,

(ii) tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and treatable disease claiming the lives of up to 1.4 million people every year, mostly in developing countries, and

(iii) the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates most new TB cases in 2011 occurred in the south-east Asia region, which, combined with the Western Pacific region, accounted for 59 per cent of incident cases globally;

(b) recognises that:

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Labor and Coalition vote against protecting aid budget

On a day when 1000 young people gathered outside the Australian Parliament to rally their elected representatives to commit to ending extreme poverty, it is disappointing that inside the parliament Labor and the Coalition voted against taking any firm action to do so, the Australian Greens said today.

Labor and the Coalition both voted against a Greens motion to protect the overseas aid budget from further budget cuts; and then the Minister for Foreign Affairs could not provide a date for when it would commit 0.7% of GNI to overseas development assistance.

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