“We have never seen anything like this, ... other countries made very different decisions when they were in much greater debt... So it raises the question: who are Australians? ..what really are our values? And seeing the Abbott Government do this is - well, I'm going to say it, it's immoral”. – Tim Costello
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On Monday, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a third cut of $3.7 billion to Australian aid, totalling $11 billion since the Government took office.
This means Australia’s aid program will fall to just 21 cents in every $100 of national income - the lowest level since records began in 1954. It places Australia as one of the least generous developed countries in the world. But this isn’t about stats, we’re talking about people’s lives.
News of the Government’s aid cuts were not heard by many Australians as the announcement came just before the heartbreaking siege at the Lindt Cafe. At the time, it didn’t feel right to respond to Mr Hockey’s announcement, nor to deliver our solar panels (postponed to Thursday), as we were praying for the hostages and encouraging a national response to the crisis that was based in love. But today, we have an opportunity to ensure the Government’s broken promises to the poor don’t slip under the radar. If each of us share the human impact of these cuts with our social networks, we’ll reach hundreds and thousands in the Christian community.
Australian aid works with communities, assisting in breaking down barriers and building better and fairer futures free from poverty. Last year alone, our nation’s aid program enabled over one million children to enrol in school, vaccinated more than two million children from life threatening diseases and provided nearly three million people access to safe drinking water. We responded to emergencies in 24 countries including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and flooding in Solomon Islands, and gave life-saving assistance to 10.2 million people. We can celebrate and be proud of the contribution our aid makes.
At this time of year we celebrate God coming among us in the Lord Jesus. God's great love for us invites us to overflow in love for our neighbours. As Christians, we’re for Australian aid because it makes a world of difference to our most vulnerable neighbours around the world. That’s why Common Grace is supporting a new initiative by Micah Challenge Australia and Make Poverty History. Campaign for Australian Aid brings together our nation’s aid and development community to demonstrate the importance of public funded aid and to celebrate the instrumental work that is done in our name.Campaign for Australian Aid will spark a national debate about what kind of nation we want to be and build public support for aid so that it can no longer be treated like a piñata for political gain.