The 2017 Turnbull budget betrays this government’s deeply cynical and clumsy approach to our region and the rest of the world, the Australian Greens said today.
“We’re one of the richest nations on the planet, yet this government has decided for the fourth year in succession to further cut aid and development support to our poorest neighbours, and focus instead on increased funding for the military and enforcement at home,” Australian Greens Co-deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs, Defence and Aid spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
“It’s hard to imagine a more inward looking and cowardly budget than this one. Though to be fair we probably said that last year and the year before too. Either way, successive Coalition governments have aggressively expanded funding to defence, massively expanded our spy agencies, and comprehensively neglected other avenues for ensuring peace and safety in our region.
“Our aid as a percentage of GNI will fall even further from the historic low it is at now. The conservative UK government, even after enduring the aftermath of the global financial crisis we largely avoided, has maintained their aid at 0.7%, over 3 times as high as Australia.
“Aid is not just the right thing to do, it is an investment in stability and security. Aid serves to prevent global turmoil and disruption, yet this government is hell-bent on waiting for that unrest to boil over so they can deploy their new defence assets. And they are spending big, adding more than twice the entire aid
“This government has handed down a budget with foreign policy provisions that would make Donald Trump proud,” Senator Ludlam said.