The Greens have called on the Australian government to join the growing international response to the Ebola crisis by sending a large scale on-ground team to West Africa to undertake medical and logistical work.
"The Australian government should be part of the international team that have committed logistical and health personnel to the region," Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) to a question without notice asked by Senator Rhiannon today relating to overseas development aid.
The response from Senator Cormann representing the Treasurer was deeply disturbing. He failed to address the question which adds to the concern that has grown since we heard the comments yesterday from the Treasurer, Mr Hockey, when he was appearing on Sky News. He said:
The Greens NSW have condemned Labor and the Coalition for their silence on the Israeli government's sustained and unrelenting military attack on Gaza.
Greens NSW Upper House MP David Shoebridge said, "Israel's military offensive in Gaza has now killed over 170 Palestinians and left over 1400 injured. This has continued because of leading western states refusing to take a position against Israeli violence.
Senator RHIANNON(New South Wales) (20:44): On another matter, the world's three major pandemics—AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria—cause an enormous amount of death and disability, generally striking those in the most productive years of their lives as well those who are the most vulnerable.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has congratulated the Australians who are in Malaysia supporting thousands of locals protesting against the construction of an Australian toxic rare earth refinery plant near a city of 600,000 people.
The processing plant being built by Australian miner Lynas Corporation has met with strong resistance from locals with protests as big as 15 000.
"I am concerned about the 16 locals arrested during yesterday's peaceful protests including Australian Natalie Lowrey who has been detained for over 24 hours," said Senator Rhiannon.
The Government's new plan for overseas aid to be delivered by private companies will see these companies profit while at the same time lives are lost. Aid for trade, and massive spending on large scale infrastructure projects, represents a far reaching realignment of our aid program towards Australia's interests over that of aid recipient countries and communities. Most of the nations that receive our aid do not have a strong private sector. It will be foreign multinationals or Australian companies that will pick up the infrastructure contracts.
The Greens say the Coalition government's plan for overseas aid announced today is reminiscent of the discredited aid policies of the 1980s with Australian companies set to profit at the expense of impoverished communities in the Asia Pacific region.
"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has corporatised Australia's overseas aid program to such a degree it could cost lives, while opening the door to corrupt practices," said Greens aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.
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.
Australia’s spending on aid should also be transparent and accountable and aid projects should not be harmful for local communities or the environment. The key purpose driving the Australian aid program should be alleviating poverty.
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