7 Responses

  1. Patrick Kilby
    Patrick Kilby December 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    These cuts also don’t make strategic sense. In the regional influence stakes Australia has just ceded the ground to China, which will happily fill the gap. Now this may not be a bad thing (we just don’t know) but it does weaken Australia’s voice in the region (in terms of ‘money where mouth is’ type arguments); and also weakens the War Against Terror argument whereby our assistance was to lead to safer and stabler neigbours.

  2. sam byfield
    sam byfield December 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Exceedingly disappointing step. The staff exodus from DFAT will continue, with more loss of skills, experience and capacity. Surely recent events (particularly Syria, ebola) have shown us that more aid, not less, is crucial not only as a moral effort to reduce poverty but as a practical measure to pursue Australia’s national interests. It seems to be that part of the reason aid is being so strongly singled out for cuts is (at least the perception) that there are no votes in aid and that Joe Public would rather see the funding stay at home; hence the public emphasis that the budget cuts are mostly coming from the aid portfolio, both this time and previously.

    To my mind, this not only reduces the Government’s credibility in aid, but far more broadly its foreign policy credibility. Aid is a key part of foreign policy. These cuts are a step backwards from Australia’s responsibility as a wealthy, active middle power. They will hurt those who can least afford to be hurt, and they will undermine Australia’s global image and relationships.

    1. Tess Newton Cain
      Tess Newton Cain December 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      I agree Sam. How Australia uses its aid budget (comprising how much is allocated and what it is spent on) will be one of the criteria against which her performance as a global citizen will be judged. This latest attack will exacerbate the current situation in which ‘investment’ decisions are increasingly less and less to do with development given the pressure to agree to things that can be delivered quickly and require little by way of establishing context or developing meaningful engagement.

  3. Margaret Callan
    Margaret Callan December 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Thanks Stephen and Jonathan for this clear analysis of the data and for calling these cuts as they are, i.e. savage.
    Minister Bishop’s ‘new aid paradigm’ is now trashed and her credibility on overseas aid completely destroyed.
    I wonder if you’re right to anticipate reduced allocations to multilateral and humanitarian aid in future? These budget cuts will lead inevitably to many more aid staff leaving DFAT, as there will be a great deal less for them to do once they’ve gone through the process of closing down activities. In future years, wouldn’t it be likely that the government will resort to writing checks to multilaterals and NGOs as an ‘efficiency’ measure?
    Margaret Callan

  4. Mel Dunn
    Mel Dunn December 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

    What a shame that the typo was not actually in the MYEFO and the government meant to place a plus sign ahead of the numbers, not the negative as it is!

    Australians should be loud in objection to this and not silent in acceptance – for it is hard to see how this retreat in commitment to the world’s poor is anything but unacceptable.

  5. Samuel Ognenis
    Samuel Ognenis December 15, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Stephen and Jonathan,

    Thank you for the analysis.
    Just one query:
    “We’ve focused so far on the cumulative cuts out to 2016-17, but most of the cuts will be implemented next year (2014-15), when the aid program will fall by a round $1 billion or 20%”

    If I’m not mistaken, was this not the cut due for 2015/16? This agrees with your spreadsheet.

    Thanks again,
    #maintainaid campaign

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