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International Aid and Development

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Motion: Cancel Low-Income Countries' Debt

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.

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Speech: Official Development Assistance Multilateral Replenishment Obligations (Special Appropriation) Bill 2019

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.

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Liberals' Narrow-Minded Cuts A Blow To Already Dismal Aid Budget

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.

Senator Faruqi said:

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Greens Back Global Call For Debt Forgiveness

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.

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WHO should be strengthened, not weakened

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. 

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Motion: Review of Foreign Aid Program

I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Federal Government has announced a review of Australia's foreign aid program;

(b) notes with concern that:

   (i) Australia's foreign aid budget has been cut by 27% since its peak in 2012-13, and is well below the average for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),

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Motion: Asbestos in Foreign Aid Projects

I, and also on behalf of Senator Ayres, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans,

   (ii) according to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 125 million people around the world continue to be exposed to asbestos at work, including in Australia's neighbours in the Asia-Pacific, and the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos,

   (iii) Australia is a founding member of the Asian Development Bank,

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