Not for Profits ‘Interrupt’ Joe Hockey
21 April 2015 at 12:09 pm
A Not for Profit campaign has seen Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s email inundated with thousands of complaints as the sector prepares itself for cuts of around $1 billion to Australia’s foreign aid.
The Campaign for Australian Aid, a coalition of Not for Profits supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has called on people to “interrupt Joe Hockey”.
The online blitz leads people to a web page featuring a caricature of Hockey writing the Budget and asks them to interrupt him by sending him an email.
Campaign member World Vision Australia emailed its supporters, asking them to take part.
“[Joe Hockey’s] writing this year's budget right now. Last year, the Government announced massive cuts to Australian Aid over the next four years. Joe Hockey is expected to announce the first cut, of $1 billion, on Budget night (12 May). If he goes ahead with the cuts, it will be the biggest cut in Australian aid history and make us the least generous we've ever been,” World Vision Australia said.
“It's extremely unfair to the millions of people living in poor communities, working hard to break down the barriers of poverty that prevent them from achieving independence. Don't let Joe jeopardise the amazing progress we've made helping people achieve freedom from poverty through Australian aid.”
Campaign for Australian Aid Project Manager, Adam Valvasori, said in just 24 hours since being launched, more than 3,000 people had emailed Hockey and their local MP. That number has since risen above 5,000.
“The Campaign hopes to reach as many people as possible with the news that Australian aid is likely to be cut by the biggest amount in our history this budget,” Valvasori said.
“This is the first campaign that uses the language of Interrupting the Treasurer as he is writing the Budget.”
Valvasori said aid organisations were expecting a $1 billion cut to foreign aid in the upcoming Budget.
“This first cut of $1billion is just one part of the Abbott/Hockey’s $11.3billion plan to cut Australian aid,” he said.
“In his last budget, 20 per cent of the Governments’ savings came from the Australian aid budget which actually only accounts for 1.2 per cent of total Government expenditure.
“We will rank 19th out of the 28 OECD Aid donors by [the 2016-17 financial year]. This will also make Australia the least generous we’ve ever been in history.
“It’s unfair to the millions of people we support in poor communities to remove the barriers to development and achieve independence. It’s plain unfair and un-Australian not to do the best we can to help our global neighbours. It is also foolish in terms of our commitment to building long term peace and stability not just in our region but globally.”
The last time he was in Australia, the world’s richest person and leading philanthropist, Bill Gates said that as 18 of Australia’s 20 closest neighbours are developing countries, foreign aid was imperative.
“It’s plain to see that your own long-term prosperity and security depend on the progress of development in your region,” Gates said.
“The deficit and debt levels in other countries are very, very high and yet some of them, like the UK are continuing to make very significant increases – moving up in their case to 0.7 per cent.”