Policies

Foreign Affairs

May 25, 2016 UniPollWatch

ALP

Labor believes that more equal growth for both rich and poor leads to greater and more sustained growth for all. It has committed to increasing aid funding, although has not said that it will restore all the funding cut by the Coalition.Late last year Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said Labor’s spending promise "begins a process that will repair the Australian overseas aid budget following record cuts by the Liberals". It plans to significantly increase annual funding to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) for its global work program and its work in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It would place Australia in the top five contributors to the UNHCR.

POLICY SUMMARY

• giving Australian aid organisations $30 million more, in particular increasing funding to groups such as Oxfam Australia, World Vision Australia and the Fred Hollows Foundation. The focus would be critical projects such as maternal and child health, schooling, clean water, and sanitation.
• Spending $10 million annually to support planning, research and evaluation, measuring Australia’s aid against the sustainable development goals.
• restore accountability by reintroducing the annual ministerial Budget statement on overseas aid, axed by the Coalition in 2014. It would be released at the same time as the federal Budget and show how overseas aid is being allocated by sector, country, region, and internationally.
• Aid accountability to be legislated, along with requirements for an independent evaluation of the overseas aid program, and measurement and reporting of effectiveness.
• Reinstating “reducing poverty” as the main objective of Australian aid.

Explanation

Labor has been extremely critical of the Liberals foreign aid cuts in the 2016-17 budget and has committed to contributing more to aid if elected. The boosted contribution for aid organisations was announced by Ms Plibersek at a major aid conference in Sydney in October last year. She described this as a process of repair following record cuts.

Liberal

The Coalition aims to strengthen Australia’s international relations in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and ensure all commitments made are in Australia’s best economic interests by reducing funding in other regions. The policy reforms aim to build an aid program effective in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty by projecting and protecting Australia’s broader interests.It will invest in Infrastructure, agriculture, effective governance, education and health, building resilience and gender equality to contribute to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction for Australia’s neighbouring countries. It will focus on two development outcomes: supporting private sector development and strengthening human development to ensure the program is following the guidelines.It will use four tests to ensure aid is distributed according to the guidelines: pursues national interest and extends Australia’s influence; impacts on promoting growth and reducing poverty; reflects Australia’s value-add and leverage; and makes performance count. It also plans to capitalise on the high returns from aid for trade investments by increasing aid for trade expenditure to 20 per cent of the aid program funding by 2020.

POLICY SUMMARY

All country and regional aid programs to have Aid Investment Plans to fight poverty
Promoting private sector development (sustainable economic growth)
Increasing aid for trade expenditure to 20 per cent of funding by 2020
Continuing to support partner countries to strengthen future disasters
Focusing on Indo-Pacific region
Delivering high-standards of value-for-money in at least 85 per cent of aid investments
Funding gender equality initiatives - especially the four year Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction program
Allocation of $103.5 million to agricultural research program

Explanation

The policy of increasing aid for trade expenditure is a continuation of the Coalition's position. This is designed to complement and assist developing countries’ own trade-related initiatives to increase economic growth, generate jobs and increase living standards. It is working to maintain and open up new access to markets and generate conditions for increased trade and investment to strengthen Australia’s economy and create new higher paying jobs. It says this helps lift economic growth and reduce poverty in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. A key focus is “accelerating support for gender equality” within the development program. International programs to be funded include: the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the Joint UN Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence, and the Global Acceleration Instrument for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. The main focus is the Pacific region, across 14 Pacific nations in a 10 year (2012-2022) program.

 

Five areas where the party is promising opportunities to achieve significant change is improving women’s access to government social protection programs, increasing women’s access to jobs and removing workplace discrimination, improving conditions for women’s overseas labour migration, strengthening women’s leadership for better maternal and reproductive health and strengthening women’s leadership to reduce violence against women. In the 2016-17 budget, the government committed to spending $103.5 on the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. This is to contribute to economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region. The research will help with poverty-reduction and empowerment of women and girls. Papua New Guinea will , in particular be highlighted to receive funding. The focus will be research in the areas of crops, livestock, fisheries, natural resources and forestry.

 

The policy of increasing aid for trade expenditure is a continuation of the Coalition's position.

This is designed to complement and assist developing countries’ own trade-related initiatives to increase economic growth, generate jobs and increase living standards. It is working to maintain and open up new access to markets and generate conditions for increased trade and investment to strengthen Australia’s economy and create new higher paying jobs. It says this helps lift economic growth and reduce poverty in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

 

A key focus is “accelerating support for gender equality” within the development program. International programs to be funded include: the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women,

the Joint UN Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence, and the Global Acceleration Instrument for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action.

The main focus is the Pacific region, across 14 Pacific nations in a 10 year (2012-2022)

program.

 

Five areas where the party is promising opportunities to achieve significant change is

improving women’s access to government social protection programs, increasing women’s

access to jobs and removing workplace discrimination, improving conditions for women’s

overseas labour migration, strengthening women’s leadership for better maternal and

reproductive health and strengthening women’s leadership to reduce violence against women.

 

In the 2016-17 budget, the government committed to spending $103.5 on the Australian

Centre for International Agricultural Research. This is to contribute to economic growth in the

Indo-Pacific region. The research will help with poverty-reduction and empowerment of

women and girls. Papua New Guinea will , in particular be highlighted to receive funding. The focus

will be research in the areas of crops, livestock, fisheries, natural resources and forestry

Greens

The Greens believe Australia, as a wealthy country, has a responsibility to assist less developed countries through international aid and development. They say international aid should be about fairly helping countries in need and not just about economic diplomacy – that is, not only about promoting our national political and commercial interests by strategically choosing aid placement that is also beneficial to Australia. The Greens have committed to the UN Millennium Project initiative that would make 0.7 per cent gross of GDP available to overseas aid and have made that their official gross target. They believe investment in infrastructure and development projects across the world is vital. This especially applies to assisting those affected by conflicts from around the world. Lee Rhiannon, Greens spokesperson on overseas aid and development, has deplored the Coalition’s aid cuts which took it to well below the 0.7 per cent pledge the Australian Government made in the Millennium Project.

POLICY SUMMARY

Emergency humanitarian relief
Change in the social, economic and environmental conditions of developing nations, consistent with basic human rights.
Placing women at the centre of Australian aid programs.
Development to free nations of structural inequality
Long-term aid programs that combat climate change as an integral part of their poverty elimination strategy.
The Australian government to recognise and support the valuable role of non-government aid organisations in providing critical analysis and scrutiny of the aid program

Explanation

The Greens have continuously pushed for an increase in funding for foreign aid and committed to meeting our international obligations under the Millennium Development Goals to spend 0.7 per cent of our Gross National Income (GNI) on effective foreign aid by 2020. They believe that Australia is rich enough to do this while still meeting obligations such as welfare benefit commitments at home.

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