compare this to other beloved Australian agencies: the amount of
fraud losses that have been identified by good old CentreLink is 4.5
times greater than that of AusAid, and for the revered, praised and
internationally acclaimed Medicare system, losses could be up to 35
times greater. Clearly, those who argue against foreign aid for fear of
‘corruption’ haven’t done their research.
Let’s touch on the global perception of Abbot’s decision. Relations
with our two nearest nations, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are
still bruised after the antics over asylum seekers during the election.
The last thing we need is for Tony Abbott to reinforce the message
the international cooperation barely makes an appearance on our
priority list. The Coalition’s decision reinforces growing perceptions
throughout the Asia-Pacific region and, unfortunately, beyond that,
Australia is a spoilt and selfish nation that appears indifferent to our
moral obligation to the poor. Abbott could learn from Britain’s
Prime Minister, David Cameron, who increased Britain’s foreign aid
budget from 0.56% to 0.7% of gross national income.
Now, let’s be honest, it’s no secret that Britain has been hit hard
with financial problems, but in response to criticism that Britain
should be solving its own economic problems first, before those of
the rest of the world, Cameron declares: ‘When people are dying, we
don’t believe in finding excuses’. I hope your large ears caught that
one, Tony, because that right there, is the generosity and sense of
moral obligation that Australia is so desperately lacking.
For now, our little Australian cruise ship is doing pleasingly.
Construction work on our 37th floor is going well, and it gives us a
great view of all the little rafts struggling by in the cold, torrid water
below. But for how long? Australia’s ‘isolationist policy’ might buy us
some new roads, but certainly no new friends. It’s safe to say, that in
our time of need, we’ll be out there in the water alone.