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Monday, 10 September 2018
Page: 8368


Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (13:35): We return to parliament today with a new Prime Minister who has spent the fortnight since his surprise elevation talking about his values. The first time Prime Minister Morrison spoke in this chamber as an MP, he spoke about 'the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity'. He said his 'vision for Australia is for a nation that is strong and prosperous' and 'generous in spirit, to share our good fortune with others, both at home and overseas, out of compassion and a desire for justice'. He made it clear that the then Rudd government's moves to increase Australian aid were inadequate to the scale of the need and that 'We still must go further'. He spoke particularly of the humanitarian tragedy in Africa and of the thousands of deaths from preventable disease that occurred there every day. He concluded:

The need is not diminishing, nor can our support. It is the Australian thing to do.

A decade on, this need has not diminished, but our support has fallen dramatically under the Abbott and Turnbull governments. These governments have cut Australian aid by over $11 billion. Our support for the people confronting the humanitarian crisis in Africa has fallen most of all, slashed by at least 50 per cent. Australian aid is now at an historic low at just 0.19 per cent of gross national income. If the new Prime Minister wants to show us his values, he can start here. Live up to your words, Prime Minister Morrison, and change course on the coalition's cuts to Australian aid.