make poverty history

Australians of the Year join the Movement to End Poverty


August 30 2013

Research biologist Sir Gustav Nossal, psychiatrist and mental health advocate Professor Patrick McGorry, businesswoman Ita Buttrose, and CSIRO Chairman Simon McKeon are among a number of prominent Australians of the Year calling on political leaders to fulfil their promise to the world’s poorest people. The group are calling for leaders from all sides of politics to support an increase of foreign aid to 50 cents in every $100 of gross national income by 2016 in order to tackle global poverty.

CSIRO Chairman and 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon said that ‘’it is in our best interests to do our fair share to lift the world’s poorest out of abject poverty. Australia will be increasingly vulnerable in a world without hope and reeking of distrust and division.”

Other Australians of the Year who have signed on include scientist Professor Tim Flannery, Indigenous leader Professor Michael Dodson, medical research leader Professor Fiona Stanley  and cancer scientist Professor Ian Frazer.

Australian of the Year 2000, Sir Gustav Nossal, said that “a lifetime spent in the health field has convinced me that extreme poverty and poor health are obligate fellow-travellers. In the health field, foreign aid really works, particularly the precious gift of vaccines. Please support Australia’s aid effort in every way you can!”

Make Poverty History Co-Chair and Plan International Australia CEO, Ian Wishart welcomed the support from the Australians of the Year, who have signed the Movement to End Poverty petition, launched in March outside Parliament House.

Australian of the Year 2010, Professor Patrick McGorry, said that “it is more important than ever in uncertain economic times to redouble our efforts to ‘make poverty history’. One of the greatest sources of poverty is mental ill health so I hope Australia can finally make a serious effort to lift her game in providing decent mental health care to all those who need it.”

The call from Australians of the Year comes a day before an event in Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah, which will see over 4000 people spell out ‘Halve (Global) Poverty by 2015’ on Manly Beach this Saturday.  World Vision’s youth movement, VGen, will also rally hundreds of young people in major capital cities across Australia to help educate the public on aid.

“More than 80,000 people have shown their support for the world’s poorest by responding to the call to alleviate global poverty and asking for Australia to do its fair share by increasing our foreign aid program.  They have done this by signing the Movement to End Poverty petition,” Mr Wishart said.

Australia currently contributes just 37 cents in every $100 of national income towards foreign aid. In 2007, both the Labor Party and the Coalition committed to increasing this contribution to 50 cents. Make Poverty History would like to see a recommitment from both political parties to achieve this increase by 2016.

Mr Wishart said “Australia’s foreign aid budget had been tremendously successful. Since 1990 it has contributed to 600 million people being lifted out of poverty, provided education to millions of Afghan children and reduced malaria cases in neighbouring Vanuatu by 80 per cent.”

“Our progress has been remarkable.  We have halved the number of people living in extreme poverty in just two decades; what a foundation for future progress.”

“Investing in overseas aid is affordable for Australia, and produces immeasurable benefits in people’s lives. Yet we provide less than 1 per cent of national income, which is equivalent to the cost of one cup of coffee a week for every Australian. We can do better than that.”

Members of the public can view the campaign website and sign the petition at



WHEN: Saturday 31st August, official proceedings begin 11.50am; Helicopter flyer over 12:10pm.

WHERE: Manly Beach, Opposite Carlton Street and South of North Steyne Surf Club.

WHAT: Event in Tony Abbott’s Sydney electorate of Warringah which will see 4000 people spell out ‘Halve (Global) Poverty by 2015’ on Manly Beach.   The event is organised by the Micah Challenge Coalition and local community organisations.

More information about the Manly Beach event available at



–       For interviews with Make Poverty History Co-Chair Ian Wishart please contact Adam Cathro M: 0488 202 945.

–       For interviews or further information about the Manly beach photo opportunity please contact Angela Owen from Micah Challenge M: 0422 985 88

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