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Gillard’s Fears Over Foreign Aid Cuts

1 October 2013 at 9:54 am
Staff Reporter
In her first public appearance since being ousted as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has aired her concerns on where Australia is heading if the Government continues to cut foreign aid.

Staff Reporter | 1 October 2013 at 9:54 am


Gillard’s Fears Over Foreign Aid Cuts
1 October 2013 at 9:54 am

In her first public appearance since being ousted as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has aired her concerns on where Australia is heading if the Government continues to cut foreign aid.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The comments were made at the Julia Gillard in Conversation with Anne Summers event at the Sydney Opera House and was in response to a question from an audience member who asked whether she was surprised by the cuts to foreign aid and what she would do if she was a grassroots advocate.

The new Coalition Government has said it will cut the foreign aid budget by $4.5 million.

“When we were there, me and Wayne, we would spend time ball gazing what [the Coalition] were likely to do to try and make their budget stuff add up because it was so chaotic and the obvious thing they would do was to cut foreign aid,” Gillard said.

“I actually think it’s not just a question about the quantum, I actually fear that there are early indications that we are going down the Canadian sort of route where you can’t put aid money unless you can show a direct economic advantage or a political advantage to Australia which means some of the investments which most make a difference on the world’s poor would be neglected.

“So I actually think the front of the fight is going to be there, and then the fight about quantum still has to be had but even in your electorate I’d be looking for like-minded people to galvanise around that.”

Issues around gender equality dominated the question and answer time. Gay marriage was also covered when one young boy asked her why she opposed gay marriage.

“I think that marriage in our society plays a traditional role and we could come up with other institutions which value partnerships, value love, value lifetime commitment,” Gillard said.

“I have a valuable lifetime commitment and haven’t felt the need at any point to make that into a marriage. I know that’s a very different reasoning than most people come up with those issues…

“When will gay marriage be law in australia, well it won’t be about I think, even if I was still in parliament, it wouldn’t be about what i thought it would be about what every member of parliament thought. the next really big thing that has to happen before gay marriage before it becomes seriously considered by the federal parliament is for  there is to be a conscience vote on both sides of parliament and i hope that comes.”

Gillard will also be making an appearance in another Conversation with Anne Summers event at the Melbourne Town Hall.

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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One comment

  • Ms Gillard is right to be concerned – what does it say about our society that we are willing to cut funding to programs that save actual lives, in order to build more roads? Australia's aid has had many successes over the years, which have largely flown under the radar, such as contributing $200 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation in 2011. This funding helped ensure that a new five-in-one vaccine could be rolled out in Indonesia, making a huge difference to the 150,000 children a year who die before their fifth birthday in Indonesia. As long as people all over the world are dying of preventable and treatable diseases, and we can help, I don't see how we can justify building new roads instead.

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