Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3917


Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (14:58): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I would like to commend her on the excellent job that she is doing. Minister, what steps has the government taken to deliver an effective and sustainable aid budget?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:58): I do thank the member for Wannon for his question. And that is quite a career enhancing move, I must say. I appreciate his words of support. This government will deliver an aid program that the nation can responsibly afford in the context of Labor's legacy of record debt and deficit. We have stabilised the aid budget at $5 billion a year. It is projected to increase according to the consumer price index from 2016. This means that Australia remains one of the top 10 aid donors in the OECD world. In fact, we are second only to Japan in our region. Shortly, I will be announcing a new approach to the way we deliver aid. This new framework will comprise performance benchmarks and mutual obligation partnerships so that the Australian taxpayer can be confident that under this government aid will be delivered effectively and efficiently, and results driven with real outcomes.

Gone will be the days when Labor would make a big announcement about an increase in the aid budget and then, when no-one was watching, they would rip money out to plug holes in their blow-outs elsewhere. In the last 15 months of Labor, $5.7 billion was ripped out of the aid budget. They were misleading people into believing that they were going to meet a target of 0.5 per cent of gross national income. That was a deliberate deceit. They were never going to do it. Gone are the days when the Labor government—

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs is warned!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: would take $375 million in 2012 and $375 million in 2013 and rip it out of the aid budget to plug the hole in the border protection budget—

Ms Plibersek interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Sydney will desist!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: because they could not afford the onshore processing costs.

Ms Plibersek: You cut $7.6 billion!

The SPEAKER: The member for Sydney is warned!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: They made themselves the third largest donor of foreign aid under the Australian aid budget—the Labor government themselves.

What concerns me is that the shadow minister for foreign affairs is still in absolute denial. She is putting out a press release assuming that Labor is going to put $16 billion of additional funding into the aid budget. I would like the Leader of the Opposition to tell us tonight: where is that $16 billion coming from for the aid budget? What programs are you cutting, or is it just more borrowings?

I am not prone to quoting Labor's last foreign minister—you are not likely to hear me say it often—but I think the shadow foreign minister should well heed the words of Bob Carr when he said, 'The truth is you can't run aid on borrowings.' Only this government will deliver an affordable, sustainable, responsible aid program.