Both voters and candidates committed to increasing Australian Aid
Residents in the Victorian seat of Batman care about Australian Aid. And so does World Vision.
“Climate change. Displacement. Famine. These are the global challenges of the 21st century and they require a collective global response. But as a nation that believes in giving people a fair go, we must ask ourselves if Australia is doing its fair share,” said World Vision Australia Chief Advocate and Co-Chair of the Campaign for Australian Aid, Tim Costello.
He was speaking at the Batman Aid Forum hosted by the Campaign for Australian Aid on 13 March. As advocates for fighting global poverty and injustice through aid, World Vision played a leading role in bringing voters face to face with the candidates for the recent Batman by-election: Alex Bhathal from the Australian Greens and Ged Kearney from the Australian Labor Party.
The Australian Aid budget is 0.22 percent of gross national income, the lowest level in Australia’s history. But the Batman Electorate is the most supportive in the country for increasing the aid budget, with 56 percent of voters believing Australia should give more.
The two candidates answered questions from the Campaign for Australian Aid, as well as Batman voters, and addressed the 200-strong audience. And the commitments made on both sides reflected Batman’s support for Australian Aid.
“Our responsibilities to others don’t end at our borders,” commented Greens Candidate Alex Bhathal, continuing, “I will fight for a legislative commitment to aid.” This kind of aid commitment would mean that to cut aid, a vote would have to be passed in parliament rather than being determined by the treasurer, as it is now.
ALP Candidate Ged Kearney also committed to advocating for aid within her party and in the parliament saying, “The Labor party has a very firm commitment to increase aid.” She also stated that “the Sustainable Development Goals must be used as a framework for better Australian Aid”.
As one of the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian and development agencies, World Vision understands the positive impact aid has for communities and countries affected by conflict, disaster, displacement, famine or climate change. “We know all of this,” said Tim, “yet at a time of increasing global need, Australia is giving less.”
Tim described World Vision’s stance on Australian Aid as “fiercely bipartisan” and urged both candidates to “reflect on … whether Australia is doing its fair share to meet global challenges”.