make poverty history

Help defend Australian aid

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My name is Tony Milne the new Executive 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?

Tony Milne

Executive Officer
Make Poverty History

Call to Action: Response to Imminent Cuts to Australia’s Aid Program

In light of recent reports that the aid budget is again under threat we are asking you to take urgent action in contacting the Treasurer, Finance and Prime Minister and telling them that the aid budget is off limits for further cuts. We believe that when people take action it can make a difference in preventing or reducing the impact of cuts.

BACKGROUND

It is increasingly likely that the aid budget will be cut further during the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which is expected in the next fortnight. The Australian Financial Review first 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 the Government would look at making budget cuts to areas that did not require legislation if the Senate continued to block the Government’s plans. The Treasurer cited the foreign aid budget as an example of where they could cut without Senate approval.

In October, The Australian reported that both the Treasurer and Senator Mathias Cormann, the 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 threatened cuts. She pushed back on cabinet plans to siphon aid to the Iraq war by reiterating the Government’s promise to “abide by the commitments we made in relation to foreign aid.” Last week, the Foreign Minister spoke of the aid program being the “flagship of Australia’s foreign policy.”

It is clear that both Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann are the principle proponents of further cuts to the aid budget. We must target these two ministers, and the Prime Minister, to demonstrate that 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 Minister’s Office. For pointers on the content of the letter, and the contact details of each Minister, please see sections below.

2. Call the Treasurer and Finance Minister’s 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
E: J.Hockey.MP@aph.gov.au
Twitter: @JoeHockey
Phone: Electorate (02) 9929 9822 Parl House: (02) 6277 7340

Senator Mathias Cormann
Level 38, Exchange Plaza
2 The Esplanade
Perth, WA, 6000
E: senator.cormann@aph.gov.au
Twitter: @MathiasCormann
Phone: Electorate (08) 9325 4227 Parl House: (02) 6277 7400

The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
Level 2, 17 Sydney Road
Manly, NSW, 2095
E: TonyAbbottMHR
Twitter: @t.abbott.MP@aph.gov.au
Phone: Electorate (02) 9977 6411 Parl House: (02) 6277 7700

“If cuts occur, the Government will have broken their promise again to Australia’s aid program”

  • Only four months ago, the Australian Government launched a comprehensive new aid policy
    which was welcomed by the development sector. Any further cuts would seriously
    undermine the Government’s own policy (‘cutting off one’s nose to spite their face’)
  • The recent reports of further cuts come after the Government abandoned its election
    commitment to grow the aid budget by the rate of inflation in the May budget.

“Aid has taken more than its fair share of cuts”

  • Overall, more than 20% of budget savings have already come from the aid program, which is
    only 1.3% of the federal budget
  • “Further cuts to aid are unfair as they hurt the world’s poorest people”
  • Australia is a lucky country but we live in a region which is home to some of the world’s
    poorest people
  •  We shouldn’t make poor people pay for our budget

“Australian aid makes an enormous difference to millions of poor people around the world and we should be proud of it”.  According to DFAT’s annual aid overview, last year the Australian aid program:

  • Enabled over 1.3 million more children enrol in school, built more than 9,000 new
    classrooms, and trained over 100,000 teachers across the region;
  • Vaccinated more than 2.3 million children and ensured nearly 1 million additional births
    were attended by a skilled birth attendant;
  • Gave 2.9 million people access to safe drinking water and increased access to basic
    sanitation for over 1 million people;
  • 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.

“Aid is an investment in Australia’s future as it builds stability and prosperity in our region. Despite budget pressures, aid is the wrong place to find additional savings.”

  • We are helping people in our region move from poverty to opportunity

RECENT HISTORY OF AID CUTS

September 2013: The Government cut the aid budget by $4.5bn over four years. This included a 40% cut to Australian aid to African countries. This round of cuts also included the removal of an additional $3.5 million from the 2017-18 estimates, which made it virtually impossible for ODA to reach 0.5% of GNI as had been promised by both parties at the previous election. Therefore, the Government cut close to $8bn from the aid budget

January 2014 (MYEFO): The Government cut an additional $625 million out of the aid program in-year. This included a further 20% cut to aid for African countries.

December 2014 (MYEFO): Remains to be seen…