The Greens believe that Australia, as a wealthy nation, has a responsibility to contribute our ‘fair share’ to poverty alleviation in less developed countries and devote 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income to overseas aid.
By contrast, in 2012 Labor and the Coalition walked away from a bipartisan commitment to increase overseas aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015. Both Labor and the Coalition have made drastic cuts to the aid budget: $5.8 billion under Labor and $11.3 billion under the Coalition.
The Greens are working with aid and social justice groups to find a legislative solution to this problem and prevent further cuts.
Under Julie Bishop, the Coalition has also refocussed aid funding to be about ‘economic diplomacy’; the idea that aid should be used in countries that are strategically important to our own economic interests.
The Greens are campaigning to ensure that Australia’s spending on aid is transparent and accountable and that projects are not harmful for local communities or the environment. The key purpose driving the Australian aid program should be alleviating poverty, not promoting our national political and commercial interests.