Foreign Aid and our sense of powerlessness.
On Tuesday 2nd April, 2019 the Treasurer of the Federal Parliament of Australia, Josh Frydenberg handed down the annual Budget of the Government. By the time our Fair Trade Faith Conference meets in May / June the Australian people will have voted on whether to retain the present Government or voted for a change. The Budget was quite obviously an election sweetener with lots of goodies for lots of people.
Absent from the mainstream reporting is reference to the amount of Foreign Aid in the Budget. Australia’s Foreign Aid will drop to 0.21% of Gross National Income, the lowest it has ever been and far below many countries who are less wealthy than Australia.
Many Australians, including a sizeable proportion of Christians are outraged by this.
For analysis from a Christian perspective see comments by:
John Hickey, CEO of Baptist World Aid:
From Micah Challenge
What can we do? We can write to our Federal Members of Parliament. We can join the many campaigns and protests. All this is important.
Sadly, however our Government knows the feeling of much of the electorate. Many of our fellow Australians are indifferent to our Foreign Aid budget. Some are openly hostile baying that we have enough problems in this country without sending money overseas.
Although we can make our voices heard sadly electoral opportunism is more important in the mind of a government threatened with defeat. To be fair I have not heard much reaction from the opposition about this either.
What I can do?
I can give money to tax deductable overseas projects. Claiming tax deductibility means I can give more and Mr Frydenbderg and the government is giving a bit as well.
Where I have real power is the way I purchase products. Fair trade certified products will ensure that those who produced the goods received a fair wage, worked in healthy and safe conditions in an environmentally sustainable way. And the workers’ communities benefitted as well.
The Conference will be a platform to share and explore how we can expand our understanding and increase motivation for action in fair trade and ethical shopping.