With further cuts mooted for Australia’s international development budget, Micah Australia are planning an action at Parliament House on budget night.
Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down his third budget on 8 May 2018. Fairfax Media previously reported that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have modelled a 10 percent cut to international aid.
The reports come after Australia currently allocates 0.22 percent of its Gross National Income (GNI) to international development, already the lowest level in history as a portion of overall expenditure.
Micah Australia’s Tim Costello said that he hopes, “the government is not going to fund tax cuts on the backs of the world’s poorest people….that is a logic that terrifies me.”
“Surely not again after they explicitly promised last year no more cuts to aid,” he said.
International Development ‘Unpopular’
The Minister for International Development, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has suggested that Australia’s international development program is unpopular, citing surveys that show that 80 percent of Australians do not support any increase in aid spending.
A recent Lowy Institute poll showed that 73 percent of Australians believe the current international development budget of $3.8 billon is either “about the right amount” or “too much”. This may reflect of an ingrained attitude towards the topic, however, as a similar number thought the same when the international development budget was 30 per cent higher at $5 billion.
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has previously defended the aid budget.
“As far as Australia is concerned we deliver an aid budget that is affordable, that is targeted and the majority of our aid is invested in the Pacific,” she said.
Micah’s Roger Burton, however, argues that Australia can afford to do more.
“The public debt in the UK is four times that in Australia and yet they have ring-fenced their aid commitment to 0.7 per cent of GNI (gross national income),” he said.
The United Kingdom currently protects its international development budget, with a law quarantining it introduced by former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.
The gathering of young Christians will take place on the lawns of Parliament at 7pm on Budget night.
The morning after the budget, Micah will gather on the front lawn of parliament house for a media event from 6:30 AM- 9:00 AM.
Tickets for Micah Australia’s Budget Night Action are available on Eventbrite.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
Image by Thennicke
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor