The Labor government's plan to use foreign aid grants to win the agreement of Pacific nation leaders to settle asylum seekers in PNG and Pacific Islands is the abusive action of a colonial power, Greens foreign aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said today.
“Australia is acting like a bullying neighbour in its relation with Pacific states. Using aid money to prop up a failed refugee policy instead of reducing poverty in low-income countries is a shameful act.
“Reports that the Labor government could use our foreign aid contribution to the Solomon Islands to win a deal similar to what is being set up in PNG, highlights how bankrupt Labor is in its approach to refugees and poverty relief.
"On top of the promise that the federal government broke in May to increase the aid budget, these latest tactics to stop refugees coming to Australia reveal that in the hands of Labor foreign aid is now a bargaining chip to win over Pacific leaders.
“The Labor government’s misuse of the Pacific and PNG aid budget will make it even harder for these nations to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – an aim that the government has named is a ‘special responsibility’.
"The AusAID website shows that none of the MDGs have been achieved in PNG.
“Australia is now engaged in an exploitative relationship with neighbouring countries. For the world’s 187 nations the UNDP’s Human Development Index ranks Australia at second place, PNG at 153 and the Solomon Islands at 143,” Senator Rhiannon said.
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