2 Responses

  1. Anthony Swan
    Anthony Swan September 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Terence / Jo

    Similar to Ben Day I believe the Australian government aid agenda is likely to be about fostering economic opportunities to drive development rather than a reactionary approach – here’s poverty, let’s do something about it. Whether this change is good or bad really comes down to ideology. There will always be instances of good or bad outcomes but rarely is it the case that one particular ideology is won over. We only have to look to our previous Prime Minister’s mistaken prediction of the end capitalism to see this. When it comes to aid, the fact that there is debate/change indicates that there is no right answer accepted by all. Yes, the new aid agenda will be more aligned to Australia’s interests but this is not necessarily bad for international development. Economic development can bring win-win situations that ultimately might be much more effective than other forms of poverty alleviation. Nor is the case that cuts to planned aid spending over the next 4 years is necessarily bad. There is some validity to the argument that aid spending was ramped up too quickly from an aid effectiveness perspective. Whilst on shaky ground, there still is consensus by the major parties on the 0.5% target. This target will only be delivered if voters are confident of the effectiveness of the aid program and, whether the aid community likes it or not, that it is in Australia’s strategic interest. What is needed is careful evidence based analysis of the program to ensure that it avoids the many pitfalls you and Ben point out.

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