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Legislation needed to stop politicians pickpocketing Australia's aid budget: Greens

The Greens are again calling on all parties to work together to develop a legislative framework for Australia's overseas aid spending after the Abbott Government cut a further $3.7 billion from the aid budget as part of the MYEFO mini budget update.

"The Abbott government has taken robbing the aid budget to fund their own domestic policies to the next level of cruelty, with total cuts by his government now around the $11 billion figure," Acting Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said.

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A legislated aid framework to stop Bishop pick pocketing the world's poor

The Greens are calling on all parties to work together to develop a legislative framework for Australia's overseas aid spending to stop governments of the day from raiding the aid budget to cover their economic mismanagement.

"It is damaging for our relations with low income countries that successive Labor and Coalition governments have slashed overseas aid spending while they continue to state publicly that they support such programs" Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio)

Senator RHIANNON: I now want to move on to issues to do with global health programs.

Senator McEWEN: Senator Rhiannon, just while we are finding someone to answer those questions for you, the mysterious $800,000 was in DFAT's answer to QON 409. It was the amount that had been spent on consultancies for IT integration to date. So perhaps you could take on notice, Mr Varghese, whether that amount is still the same or whether or not it has increased.

Mr Varghese : I am happy to do that.

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Bishop's corporatised aid plan set to damage communities

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.

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Labor refuses to support call to work towards the UN MDG 0.7% target

It’s incredibly disappointing that neither the Labor Party nor the Coalition supported my amendments to a Senate motion today which called for Australia to work towards the UN MDG 0.7% of GNI target.

I moved the following amendment to part (3): calls on the Government to reverse its $4.5 billion in cuts to Australia’s aid program and to work towards 0.7 per cent of GNI allocated to overseas aid by increasing funding to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2017-18.

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Abbott delivers final twist of the knife to aid program

Responding to reports that the Abbott government has removed poverty alleviation as a goal of Australia’s foreign aid program, Greens international aid and development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

 “Australia has dealt yet another savage blow to the world’s poorest by removing poverty reduction from the goals of the foreign aid budget.

 “There seems to be no limit to the Coalition’s harsh and selfish attitude towards our aid program.

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Abbott’s overseas aid plan: an act of betrayal

Greens overseas aid and development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Coalition’s plan to absorb AusAID into DFAT is an arrogant move and a slap in the face to the 85% of Australians that support overseas aid.

“The new Prime Minister has sent a clear signal – Australia is selfish, and even though we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we are not going to bear our ethical and humanitarian responsibility to alleviate global poverty.

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Coalition breaks promise – adopts selfish overseas aid cuts

Responding to the Coalition’s planned $4.5 billion cut to the overseas aid budget, Greens aid and development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said this was a cruel policy towards the world’s poor and represents a broken commitment.

“The Coalition’s proposed aid cuts make Australia a selfish neighbour to countries in the Asia Pacific region,” Senator Rhiannon said.

 “Cutting the overseas aid budget by $4.5 billion over four years will limit the effectiveness of many of Australia’s outstanding aid and development programs.

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