My name is Tony Milne the new ExecutiveÂ Officer of Make Poverty History and I need your help. The Government is currently making decisions on the 2015 budget and it looks like they want to raid the aid budget again*.
We need to speak out right now.
Our Government has been unable to get its budget cuts through the Senate.
Instead they want to go after the aid budget because they don’t believe Australian aid has public support.
But we know that aid transforms lives. In the past year alone we responded to emergencies in 24 countries including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and flooding in Solomon Islands, and gave life-saving assistance to 10.2 million people.
Send a message to Joe Hockey, Mathias Cormann and Tony Abbott – Don’t Cut Aid.
And visit our Facebook Page to share our update on your wall.
Ebola. The 2005 Pacific Tsunami. The Syrian refugee crisis. Australians have always stood up on the world stage to play our part to tackle the worlds most challenging issues.
We should not start shirking our promise to the world’s poor.
Will you stand with us in defending the Australian aid budget and the instrumental work that is done in our name?
Make Poverty History
Call to Action: Response to Imminent Cuts to Australiaâs Aid Program
In light of recent reports that the aid budget is again under threat we areÂ asking you to take urgent action in contacting the Treasurer, Finance and Prime Minister andÂ telling them that the aid budget is off limits for further cuts. We believe that when peopleÂ takeÂ action it can make a difference in preventing or reducing the impact of cuts.
It is increasingly likely that the aid budget will be cut further during the Mid-Year Economic andÂ Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which is expected in the next fortnight. The Australian Financial Review firstÂ broke the news on December 1 with the article below.
This is just a few months after the Treasurer Joe Hockey made remarks on ABC radio that theÂ Government would look at making budget cuts to areas that did not require legislation if the SenateÂ continued to block the Governmentâs plans. The Treasurer cited the foreign aid budget as anÂ example of where they could cut without Senate approval.
In October, The Australian reported that both the Treasurer and Senator Mathias Cormann, theÂ Finance Minister, were considering cuts to the aid budget to finance the Iraq war.
The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has repeatedly defended the aid program from these threatenedÂ cuts. She pushed back on cabinet plans to siphon aid to the Iraq war by reiterating the GovernmentâsÂ promise to âabide by the commitments we made in relation to foreign aid.â Last week, the ForeignÂ Minister spoke of the aid program being the âflagship of Australiaâs foreign policy.â
It is clear that both Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann are the principle proponents of further cuts toÂ the aid budget. We must target these two ministers, and the Prime Minister, to demonstrate thatÂ more aid cuts are unacceptable to their own constituencies.
WHAT WE ARE ASKING YOU TO DO:
1. Write a letter to the Treasurer, Finance Minister, and Prime MinisterâsÂ Office. For pointers on the content of the letter, and the contact details of each Minister,Â please see sections below.
2. Call the Treasurer and Finance Ministerâs Offices and speak to his staff members to urge that the aid budget is cut no further.
CONTACT DETAILS OF POLITICIANS
The Hon. Joe Hockey, MP
100 Mount Street (Corner of Mount & Walker)
North Sydney, NSW, 2060
Phone: Electorate (02) 9929 9822 Parl House: (02) 6277 7340
Senator Mathias Cormann
Level 38, Exchange Plaza
2 The Esplanade
Perth, WA, 6000
Phone: Electorate (08) 9325 4227 Parl House: (02) 6277 7400
The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
Level 2, 17 Sydney Road
Manly, NSW, 2095
Phone: Electorate (02) 9977 6411 Parl House: (02) 6277 7700
âIf cuts occur, the Government will have broken their promise again to Australiaâs aid programâ
âAid has taken more than its fair share of cutsâ
âAustralian aid makes an enormous difference to millions of poor people around the world and weÂ should be proud of itâ. Â According to DFATâs annual aid overview, last year the Australian aid program:
âAid is an investment in Australiaâs future as it builds stability and prosperity in our region. Despite budget pressures, aid is the wrong place to find additional savings.â
RECENT HISTORY OF AID CUTS
September 2013: The Government cut the aid budget by $4.5bn over four years. This included aÂ 40% cut to Australian aid to African countries. This round of cuts also included the removal of anÂ additional $3.5 million from the 2017-18 estimates, which made it virtually impossible for ODAÂ to reach 0.5% of GNI as had been promised by both parties at the previous election. Therefore,Â the Government cut close to $8bn from the aid budget
January 2014 (MYEFO): The Government cut an additional $625 million out of the aid programÂ in-year. This included a further 20% cut to aid for African countries.
December 2014 (MYEFO): Remains to be seenâŚ