That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate representing the Prime Minister (Senator Birmingham) to a question without notice asked by Senator Faruqi today relating to climate change.
Senator FARUQI (New South Wales) (15:40): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 593, standing in my name for today and relating to the impact of COVID-19 on low-income countries, be taken as a formal motion.
The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?
A government senator: Yes.
The PRESIDENT: There is an objection. Formality has been denied, Senator Faruqi.
I rise to speak to the Official Development Assistance Multilateral Replenishment Obligations (Special Appropriation) Bill 2019. The bill provides funds to existing and future official development assistance multilateral replenishment obligations. The Greens support this bill, but the government needs to do much more. We are living through a global pandemic with the entire world impacted. We are set to face, as a global community, social and economic consequences at a massive scale which will be felt ever more deeply in the global south.
Australian Greens International Development spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has criticised the Government’s international aid cuts announced today.
Senator Faruqi has said the repurposing of Australia’s already shrinking aid budget is a signal the Coalition government is moving further away from the global community and retreating from its responsibilities. While Australian government spending on the COVID-19 response in the Pacific is very welcome, this should involve new funding, not a repurposing of the existing budget.
The Australian Greens have joined an international delegation signing onto a letter calling for extensive debt forgiveness from international financial institutions, including the IMF and World Bank, for International Development Association countries. The letter was initiated by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and signatories include Jeremy Corbyn, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Yanis Varoufakis.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi and Adam Bandt MP are the sole Australian signatories to this unprecedented letter.
The Australian Greens have condemned US President Donald Trump’s announcement this week that the United States will withdraw critical funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO), and cautions the Australian government from signalling any similar action.
As the international body responsible for coordinating the world’s response to pandemics like the current COVID-19 crisis, it is critical that governments maintain their financial commitments to the organisation.
Australian Greens Senator for NSW and International Development spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called on the Australian Government to act immediately and increase funding to Pacific countries for COVID-19 support, in response to reports that infection figures have more than doubled since last week. Another death was reported in Guam yesterday.
Australian Greens International Aid and Development spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has responded to revelations that the Morrison government will cease all bilateral aid to Pakistan as funds for development assistance are diverted to the Pacific. Nepal will also have its budget almost halved.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Raiding the aid budget of one country so Australia can further its national interest in the Pacific is a shameless pursuit of self interest by Australia.
The Greens believe that Australia, as a wealthy nation, has a responsibility to contribute our ‘fair share’ to poverty alleviation in less developed countries and devote 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income to overseas aid.
Australia’s spending on aid should also be transparent and accountable and aid projects should not be harmful for local communities or the environment. The key purpose driving the Australian aid program should be alleviating poverty.
Authorised by D. Lawson, Australian Greens, Parliament House, Canberra 2600