Much has been said in Australia recently about the amount of money being spent on foreign aid each year, while our own citizens seem to go without. So is it time we finally had this conversation where we can all openly and honestly express our feelings on this matter without being labelled racist, inhumane, or callous?
We believe we can and should, and explain why below.
According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) AUSTRALIAN AID BUDGET SUMMARY 2017–18, our nation has committed to spend 3.9 billion dollars during the 2017-18 financial year in Official Development Assistance (ODA).
In their official document, we are advised that this sum of money will be used to:
- reduce poverty
- promote sustainable economic growth, and
- advance Australia’s national interest.
It further states that the government is ‘committed to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in the Indo-Pacific region where we will invest over 90 per cent of our bilateral and regional aid.’
I’m sure no one would begrudge one nation wanting to assist another, especially when there are strong humanitarian reasons for doing so. But does there come a time when nations need to stop and take a good, long look at how well their own people are faring, before committing large sums of money to assist other nations?
In saying this, we are well aware that Australia at times has committed far larger amounts in foreign aid and that to some, this current annual commitment might not seem anywhere near enough to fix all the problems in our ‘neighbourhood.’
But just as we need to work within our available budget in the home, so we believe our federal government needs to do likewise. We regularly give where we can to reputable organisations who provide aid to those less fortunate than ourselves, but there are times when the decision has to be made – do we put food on our own table and provide for our own, or do we help others?
And as much as we hate to do it, at those times we have to cut back on our donations to others, and look after our own.
For many years, Australia has been called ‘the lucky country‘ by those who recognise our rich heritage, spacious environment, envious lifestyle, abundance of natural resources, stable economic situation, and our beautiful weather. And in years past, when the economy permitted it, we have given to many other nations financially, and committed manpower to natural disasters as they arose.
Unfortunately, as we look at our present-day Australia, and put aside all the political rhetoric, it is easy to see our crown of ‘lucky country‘ losing some of its lustre when:
- over 100,000 people are homeless every night
- one in four older Australians live in poverty
- some 80% of retirees live, at least in part, on the age pension, and we know of many who struggle to afford paying their regular bills and buying essential medication
- our healthcare system is in crisis, and our care of the elderly and those with mental health issues is regularly criticized
- many of our military veterans are homeless, contemplating suicide, suffering PTSD, and are part of a culture of neglect
- despite our own financial problems and high unemployment, some 13,000-17,000 humanitarian refugees are still being settled in Australia each year, while many other thousands of migrants are also being accepted.
In July this year, we were advised that Australia’s unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6%. Now if you say that quickly, it really doesn’t mean much, but based on our small population of around 24 million people, that equates to around 720,000 people.
Did you let that sink in?
Our ‘lucky country’ has over 700,000 unemployed people (as well as thousands of underemployed people and those on low incomes as well), who are struggling EVERY DAY to put a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and medication to possibly keep them or their children alive.
And meanwhile, we are sending over three billion dollars overseas each year to help the less fortunate!
Does that make any sense to anyone reading this?
- just imagine how many jobs we could create with three billion dollars in one year?
- how many homeless could we house if we stopped our foreign aid for two years?
- and how many sick vets and struggling retirees could we say ‘thank you’, to if we just stopped giving away money for three years?
So yes, we really think it is time we had this conversation, and allowed all Aussies an opportunity to have their say.
Perhaps, the forthcoming marriage plebiscite would be a perfect time for our politicians to really find out what every-day Australians think on a matter of subjects.
In fact, for the first time in Australia’s history, our politicians might actually understand the real concerns of all Aussies!
It makes you think, doesn’t it!
We hope you found today’s post food for thought. Perhaps you and I and a few other concerned citizens from Australia and around the world could make all our governments sit up and take notice of our real concerns at this time.
Please drop us a comment below and let us know what you think, and consider subscribing, if you haven’t already, so we can keep you updated in the future.
And if you are looking for other great posts, make sure you check out Is it time the average citizen had a greater say in political events which concern them!
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor
ONLINE FASHION STORE
Empowering people to live a healthy, authentic and fulfilling, personal and business lifestyle.
Adelaide, South Australia.
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