All posts by Sam Porter

Open submission to the AusAid review

I’m keeping this article deliberately short. Why? ‘Cos your going to write it for me. You say lazy, I say creative.

I’ll start you off with some quick context. As some of you may know, AusAid, is currently conducting an enquiry into its $4.3 Billion per year aid program. The enquiry is taking public submissions. I was struck the other day when a group of the most highly intelligent people I know expressed reservation about writing a submission to the AusAid enquiry. Why the fear? It is a public enquiry after all and the people that have contributed to this fantastic site, through articles, comments and opinions are as well placed as anyone to have their say into how our aid money is spent.

So it gots me thinking. How can I convince people that writing a submission is not an insurmountable task? Well we can do as we used to in school. We can write a submission together. Good ol’-fashioned teamwork. I’ll start us off by proposing a series of questions that stay within the enquiry’s terms of reference. Check them out yourselves if your keen. I invite all of you – all of the 10,000 people who have read articles on this site since it was founded – to comment and debate below.

  • At present, the official objective of Australia’s aid program is to ‘assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia’s national interests. Is this fair? Should our aid money be used to further our strategic commercial and geopolitical goals? Or should it be used purely to alleviate poverty in our neighbouring developing countries? Discuss.
  • OK, so your answer for the previous question might influence this one. OK, so if you said “yes” to purely alleviating poverty, then what about programs such as AYAD or VIDA? Should these be cancelled?
  • Lets say you said no to the first question above. Lets say instead we use aid purely to alleviate poverty. So how do we allocate aid funds? According to MDG criteria? Should Least Developed Countries be allocated the most money?
  • Previously on this site we’ve discussed AusAid’s largest ever investment, a $222 million package to construct secondary schools in Indonesia. So, allocating aid dollars purely on MDG or HDI rankings would be putting a stop to programs such as this one. Thoughts? Should middle income countries be receiving any of our aid money?

OK, so that should get us started. As the debate progresses, feel free to pose your own questions or queries.