Britain has recently decided to stop overseas aid to India. It had become untenable for the Government to take money from British taxpayers to subsidise a nuclear power with a space program.

Saving Asia one little flag at a time

It’s time Australia took a similar, hard-nosed approach to overseas aid. If the Asian Century means anything, it means Australians realising that the hubris, paternalism, and sentimentalism reflected in an old style ‘first-world helping out the third-world’ aid program is anachronistic.

Mutual economic and social benefit must be the criterion for any investment of Australian funds in another country. Leveraging and increasing Australian strengths must be the strategy.

Here are the three key elements of a radically revamped, strategic, overseas investment program:

We should fund our major universities to provide facilities, programs and linked scholarships in cities across South Asia, SE Asia and E Africa
A major focus of this investment should be around agricultural, medical, and scientific research facilities and programs. Food production, disease eradication, and new advanced technologies should be the results by which we judge this investment.

Talented Australians wishing to do their courses or research in these overseas locations, with all the resulting language and cultural side-benefits, should be able to access the scholarship places available at the foreign locations, alongside local scholarship holders.

We should establish major food and emergency supply reserves
We should also provide the defence force logistics, lift and deployment capacities necessary to rapidly deliver these reserves in response to natural disasters and war. The defence lift and deployment capacity should also be capable of supporting, sustaining, and protecting peace making and keeping campaigns.

There should be joint and regular exercises with regional defence forces, and Indonesian and Indian defence forces in particular, to ensure emergency and peace-keeping preparedness and effectiveness. The costs of such reserves and programs should be treated as aid expenditure.

We should create an Australian Micro-Credit Fund
The fund should release significant capital to Australian banks willing to establish themselves in South Asia, South East Asia and East Africa and deliver micro-finance lending programs as part of their business. The aim will be to inject the capital that will allow growing middle classes to purchase products and services from the micro-businesses that can emerge with such support from amongst the poor.

Existing lending programs focused on small businesses run by women, and with linked health and education programs that they fund from their own success, already exist as benchmarks.

No more hand-outs to foreign governments or multilateral bureaucracies in the vain hope of currying diplomatic favor. No more funding for NGOs – they would have to rely on education campaigns and the marketing of their causes to donors to do the work they favor. Just investments that build on Australian strengths, nurture people-to-people understanding, and deliver mutual benefits to Australians and the citizens of the countries in which our tertiary and financial institutions invest.

Two billion dollars per annum in each investment area could be a good redirection of our current and projected aid investment. As there would be a much clearer benefit to Australians from these programs, sustaining a growing allocation for overseas investments should be easier politically.

Thousands of talented overseas students linked to our international research universities; thousands of young Australians learning foreign languages and cultures as they study fully funded overseas-based courses; well-funded, leading edge, world transforming Australian-led research programs; thousands of micro-businesses pulling the poor up into small business oriented middle classes, with the longer-term impact of self-replenishing and growing credit funds; a capacity to reach out effectively in disaster and war to feed and protect, with highly mobile, emergency ready, defence-based deployment capabilities.

That’s the kind of focused, smart, hard-nosed aid program the Asian Century demands of Australian Governments.

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    • Super D says:

      05:15am | 22/11/12

      I remember visiting Vanuatu and the taxi driver pointing out the new parliament house and saying “China built that” then driving up the hill outside Port Vila to see chinese engineers building a new road. My observations were that 1 we shouldn’t give aid to any countries who have an aid program of their own and 2 that the Chinese seemed to have delivered in 3 years more tangible benefits than half a century of Australian aid.

    • Gregg says:

      06:23am | 22/11/12

      Maybe not all Vanuatans know the full deal and what rights China may be getting in return, even something like access for fishing being a possible big deal for the Chinese who have many more mouths to feed than Australia and much more money to fund many more people doing the work and working for very cheap rates too no doubt.

      Vast differences between Australia and Asia and our Australian government would seem to be rather oblivious to those differences not to mention what we are doing with fishing rights for our own domestic fishing industry which is just another that the government seems to be intent on killing off.

      We are losing manufacturing rapidly enough and where does the government think our food will come from!

    • Rosie says:

      06:48am | 22/11/12

      Super D

      China’s aim is to get into bed with any country in the Asia Pacific Region. They work on it and the people of these countries are in awe with what visible infrastructure China builds for them. It is visible, unlike the aid we give them, there is nothing the Asians or Pacific Islanders can say; “look that was built by Australia or Australia did this for us.

      In Fiji the Chinese come and go without visas. Australia, doing the right thing will not get them anywhere. Gone are the days when Aust, NZ, and America were the top dogs in these countries, they love China because China gives them stuff they can see.

      I just hope that the aid sent to countries like Fiji, is at least for the needs of the poor people and not in the pockets of Frank Bainimarama’s Regime to keep the Fiji Army happy and that Aust has full account on how that money is been used. The Fijian soldiers are very highly paid these days.

    • ZSRenn says:

      07:49am | 22/11/12

      So we give foreign aid because we are kind and benevolent and China gives aid so it can take over the world. Can anyone else smell the hypocrisy. Yes China needs fishing rights and to keep supply routes open for trade but don’t we give overseas aid for the same reason.

      If Australia stopped posturing like the righteous Big Brother of the South Pacific and treated some of these island nations with respect to their sovereignty then maybe China would not have been able to get a foothold. 

      Meanwhile India increased it’s military spending by 18% to a total of US$40.5 billion for 2012 / 2013. Let’s not worry about that, instead let’s have a bash at our old foe China.

    • Trev says:

      08:00am | 22/11/12


      Good on them.  We should watch and learn.

    • Kika says:

      08:50am | 22/11/12

      China is doing the same in Sri Lanka and Africa. You have to wonder… don’t you.

    • Rosie says:

      08:54am | 22/11/12


      Trev is right, we must be aware of what is going on around us and the changes that are taking place. We can still walk and chew gum at the same time.

      First and foremost is to elect a govt that will govern for the nation and not one that as soon as they are in govt, thinks of how are we going to beat the Opposition so we remain the govt, election after election. Any govt should always have a record to defend and it is that record that either keeps them in govt or in opposition.

      Obama, they say, won because his opponent was hated by numerous females. These females voted Obama. Now we are hearing from the Gillard camp that females have a dislike for the Opposition Leader because he is old fashion, he hates women etc etc. It would be sad for Australia, if this type of attack does work for an outcome to which political party governs.

      I think because voting is compulsory here, ‘how to detect political agendas’ should be taught in our schools. This will enable future generations to vote for the right candidate so that the nation ends up with a govt that is elected by the people for the people instead of a govt elected by the people for themselves.

      I feel, since the Rudd/Gillard Labor govts, Australia has allowed the Chinese to do their thing in our Asian Pacific neighbouring countries. We must be aware of this and perhaps change the way in which we deal with these countries using the aid we give more wisely and cunningly I suppose. Gone a the days when we punish countries like Fiji after a coup by staying away and with restrictions, we must remain in their faces like China and India.

    • Gregg says:

      09:27am | 22/11/12

      ” Yes China needs fishing rights and to keep supply routes open for trade but don’t we give overseas aid for the same reason. “
      And so what is the overseas aid which actually allows employment of many Chinese for?, much the same thing happening in Africa.

      ” If Australia stopped posturing like the righteous Big Brother of the South Pacific and treated some of these island nations with respect to their sovereignty then maybe China would not have been able to get a foothold. “
      And other than going in to the Solomons in recent years to help maintain some peace and mind you many of Chinese descent had businesses burnt to the ground, how do reckon Australia is posturing as a big brother?
      I would have thought if there were Chinese descendants and even possibly chinese citizens being affected, China should have been offering protection.

    • Gregg says:

      09:33am | 22/11/12

      ” Gone a the days when we punish countries like Fiji after a coup by staying away and with restrictions, we must remain in their faces like China and India. “
      You mean more like a stepdad with a big stick than a brother!
      Maybe instead of thinking of teaching political agendas you ought to learn some of the British Commonwealth and Australia’s relations with Fiji have not been based on just our solitary view, there is something called democracy after all.

    • andye says:

      09:42am | 22/11/12

      @Rosie - “I think because voting is compulsory here, ‘how to detect political agendas’ should be taught in our schools. This will enable future generations to vote for the right candidate so that the nation ends up with a govt that is elected by the people for the people instead of a govt elected by the people for themselves.”

      You are hilarious, Rosie. The irony of your unspoken agenda in the above quote is delicious.

    • Matthew says:

      10:00am | 22/11/12


      Every government governs for themselves, just as we the people look after ourselves.  Do you care about your customers over your own job?  Of course not.

      That’s the best bit about the US system.  2 terms and you’re out no matter what.  Obviously nothing gets done in the first term (about the same as what other governments get done) but a lot gets done in their last term.  On the other hand, the Australian government is always fighting to keep its job and will do whatever it takes.


      China’s values are aligned with fiji (and I’m sure some other pacific nations) in that they want to exploit the people to maintain those at the top.  Australia is similar but have rules in place to stop it happening at the same level as dictators but it’s still there.  Unfortunately it’s a problem with being governed by humans that are selfish (ie, all of us).

    • China twit says:

      10:12am | 22/11/12

      ZSRenn is an apologist for the oligarchy that is China.

      He is trying to spin a lump of lead like a top.

    • David V. says:

      10:39am | 22/11/12

      China is worse than Nazi Germany in many ways. They are killing baby girls and thus their own future. Chinese history is in cycles, with dynasties rising and falling and periods of fragmentation and warlordism in between. And a history of horrifying cruelty too. Japanese accounts show that Chinese were eating the flesh of Taiwanese aborigines in the early 20th century.

    • Ayn Rand of The Peanuthead says:

      11:19am | 22/11/12

      Super D must be up early. Looks like The Party have given him the job of first troll each day.

    • Rosie says:

      11:51am | 22/11/12

      @ andye

      I really didn’t want to get into a debate of Labor bad, Liberal/National good for fear of having my post vanish into thin air. So far all my posts have been posted by the Punch team. It’s called being rational.

      However, I always find it hilarious when your side of politics are exposed for your dirty tactics because your first priority is to beat the Opposition instead of governing, you guys find it hilarious or boring and make comments like ‘Yawn’ or ‘Next’ or ‘Hilarious.’ It is hilarious but very satisfying because I know that I have hit a raw nerve and you have not a bloody thing to say but take it out of context for your benefit, turn into a joke or ignore it and come up with repetitive Labor spin. I know this to be true because I became interested in politics the day Gillard became PM and boy hasn’t she and the Labor party taught me well - ‘how to play the political agenda.’ The LNP does it as well but not to the extent of the Labor party. Like one of your own has said; ‘Whatever it takes’

      Please get back to the debate as this topic is very dear to my heart. I can see what China is doing to countries like Fiji and because many Fijians have not had the luxury of a good education have taken to the Chinese way of doing things. The educated ones know what is going on and complain in silence because they feel they are unable to do anything about it. Democratic Elections Bainimarma style will be held in 2014 to make Aust, NZ and America happy and thinking Fiji is doing the right thing. Nothing will change, Bainimarma will still be the dictator, with Chinese influence. Australia needs to realize this and change how they deal with Fiji. Perhaps you could suggest something!

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:58am | 22/11/12

      I welcome our new Chinese overlords

      Maybe they won’t be as useless as the socialist middle-class welfare parasites we’ve had to endure for decades

    • andye says:

      01:04pm | 22/11/12

      @Rosie - “However, I always find it hilarious when your side of politics are exposed for your dirty tactics because your first priority is to beat the Opposition instead of governing”

      I have said it before and I shall say it again. I haven’t thrown a vote Labor’s way in many years. The Greens never, btw.

      You seem to spend way too much time trying to slot people into holes so you can apply your broad but shallow analysis of lefty motives to them.

      @Rosie -“you guys find it hilarious or boring and make comments like ‘Yawn’ or ‘Next’ or ‘Hilarious.’ It is hilarious but very satisfying because I know that I have hit a raw nerve and you have not a bloody thing to say but take it out of context for your benefit, turn into a joke or ignore it and come up with repetitive Labor spin.”

      There is only one of me here, Rosie. I have a number of issues I am quite interested in, and I always try to work out the truth of the matter. One of the things that I find annoying is when conservatives push that we are in a terrible position in order to push, yes, a political agenda. meanwhile Australia has the highest median wealth per capita on Earth.

    • PJ says:

      02:27pm | 22/11/12

      Foreign Aid can be defined as “taking money from the poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries.”

      - In Rwanda, Hutu’s massacred Tutsis in the 1990’s but Aid Agencies reported Refugees were dying from cholera, which got $1.5 Billion in Aid. The Hutu’s stole 60 percent of the Aid and levied a Food tax to pay militias, which all helped to drive the continued massacre of Tutsis.
      - Somalian warlords extracted 80 percent of the supplies from the aid agencies.
      - Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers took 25 percent of aid from Dutch relief workers, to help them continue terrorist activities.
      - The Sudanese army fed itself on food aid that it stole, while it committed atrocities.
      In summary Foreign Aid perpetuates wars and genocide by sustaining the perpetrators not feeding the poor.

      Rajiv Gandhi said that only 15 percent of foreign aid made it to the poor in India, for which it was intended.

      When we tripled Aid to Africa for this temporary seat on the UN, my thoughts went to the Foreign aid scandals we have now bought into and the Gillard Governments self confessed Ego as a reason for doing things that cost us, the tax payer. I noted recently Rwanda has increased its efforts to destabilise the Congo. What’s the bet its our aid financing ?

      Two things the Gillard Government hoped we would not discover too soon. First, that the carbon tax attracted GST. Second, the other dirty secret that $320 Million of our Carbon tax was going to Africa. Both big shocks we had to ‘discover’ on our own.
      When the Gillard Government’s carbon tax was accused of having more to do with wealth distribution than saving the planet, we all remember Gillard defending the subterfuge by stating every penny of carbon tax was going to help Australian families. Not so as it turns out. It’s more Aussie taxes destined for the dodgy world of Foreign Aid.

    • Gregg says:

      05:25am | 22/11/12

      All good thoughts Chris and I would only take exception to the banks for banks function as any business to service their shareholders and any capital going to them no doubt would be of eventual benefit to shareholders.
      Perhaps the Micro Credit Fund could be part of a separate entity that would be the financial arm to fund the scholarships, food and emergency supplies.

      Though there should be a ceiling for all funding, any funding should be on assessment against firm criteria and having Australian students funded to go abroad for the sake of language and cultural benefits could be excluded for any benefits from a short period of study are mythical.

      But certainly aid to places like India and Pakistan, both with nuclear arsenals and in constant conflict with one another ought to be stopped and likewise with Indonesia, they are not such a poor nation as they have huge natural resources and just very poor wealth distribution.

    • acotrel says:

      05:55am | 22/11/12

      An Australian equivalent to the Grimeen Bank in Asian countries would not be all bad.  It would help the small people to grow, and bypass the usual corrupt bastards.

    • craig2 says:

      09:53am | 22/11/12

      I agree aco, like those who set slush funds?

    • Richard the Lionheart says:

      10:45am | 22/11/12

      Oh yeah? The Chinese now own one third of Madagascar and most of the mines in Africa. The locals hate them worse than the white colonialists. Locals are treated very shabbily indeed by Chinese bosses. Presidents of African Nations visit Switzerland on a regular basis.

    • OchreBunyip says:

      06:31am | 22/11/12

      “Existing lending programs focused on small businesses run by women, and with linked health and education programs that they fund from their own success, already exist as benchmarks.”

      What proponents of these loans don’t tell you is the default rate on these loans. Apart from it being a policy based on a flawed ideology it is also one which does not return the benefits touted by those who promote them.

      Winding back the bloated aid-for-nothing programme is going to have a lot of groups with vested interest opposing the suggestion.It is high time Australia obtained a return on the tax money and donations that we send into the bottomless pits of the aid-dependent nations.

    • acotrel says:

      07:17am | 22/11/12

      Does the default rate really matter when you consider that the alternative is to line some corrupt opportunist’s pockets ? Are you suggesting that ‘the trickle down effect of wealth’ works in Asia ? The disparity you see there right now is where Australia is going due to certain cynical politicians.

    • Anubis says:

      08:25am | 22/11/12

      Don’t get yourself all het up there acotrel. Those “certain cynical politicians” will all get voted out at the next election and some common sense and fiscal scrutiny will then come to bear on Australia’s grossly over inflated foreign aid to countries that don’t need it. The rapid increase in the amount of cash going overseas as a result of the vanity bid for a UN Security set will be reined in.

      So by this time next year your misogynistic little mind will be able to rest easy knowing that Gillard and the girls will no longer hold the keys to the treasury.

    • Big Jay says:

      08:51am | 22/11/12

      @OchreBunyip - I’m pretty sure, Muhammad Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank, and the ABC reporting said their micro-credit operations, focused on women and micro-business had very low default rates. Furthermore, Australian big banks (like ANZ) ventures into India and Bangladesh had been hit with massive losses on big commercial loans gone bad (this was pre-GFC).

      If you have any hard data of these defaults, I’d love to see it.

    • Nick says:

      08:53am | 22/11/12

      “What proponents of these loans don’t tell you is the default rate on these loans”

      Care to cite some sources?
      Otherwise your comment is pure speculation.

    • Jess says:

      09:07am | 22/11/12

      If you check out they are in these countries and do do micro-financing to any business that wishes to apply. They have a very low default rate of something like 0.03% I have personally made 19 loans I have had a couple people in arrears but they have come back and repaid the loan fully. I have had 11 of those loans paid back completely and the rest are somewhere between 8% and 80% paid back (different payment schedules and some were made a couplemoths ago and some last year.

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:47am | 22/11/12

      Hot damn this is a good article.  I have doubts about providing our banks access to SE Asia, though I see the rationale behind it.  I do applaud using our government to improve our local business ability to compete in emerging markets.

      Good thoughts.

    • Sarah Bath says:

      06:52am | 22/11/12

      we need to do more to support the poorer countries.  Why should the wealthy who can eat 3 meals a day not do anything to support those who are struggling. Look at the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network as an example.

    • Anne71 says:

      08:29am | 22/11/12

      Sarah, there are a lot of Australians who don’t eat three meals a day. They’re lucky if they can afford one decent meal a day. While I certainly believe in the importance of foreign aid, I also think that looking after those living below the poverty line in our own country should be a priority.

      I shall now await the usual flood of “if people are poor/ starving in this country then IT’S THEIR OWN FAULT!” comments.

    • Joel M-J says:

      08:33am | 22/11/12

      The main point of this article though, is that the way we are helping is futile. Giving money to foreign governments in the form of aid is at the complete mercy of that foreign government’s prerogative.

      With particular regards to more corrupt governments we deal with, this can be considered a complete waste of money.

      Chris’ arguments aren’t against helping people. If you read carefully, you will find that they are for instigating better and more efficient ways at helping people. Micro Credit for example, has clear historical precedence as being more effective at lifting people up out of poverty. Far more so than aid payments to the aforementioned people’s governments.

    • George says:

      09:19am | 22/11/12

      If we do it should be on condition that they stop breeding so much.

      One of the reasons why we are relatively wealthy and we can afford the amazing luxury of eating is that we didn’t.

    • Tyr says:

      11:04am | 22/11/12

      You’re seriously pointing to an aid agreement between Australia and Venezuela??? Do you have any concept of the levels of corruption going on in Venezuela? They have some of the world’s largest oil reserves, their oil industry has been recently (and forcefully) nationalized, yet hardly any profit goes to development of the nation (apart from vote-buying exercises from Chavez).

      At least have half an idea of what you are putting forward as an argument, before you do it.

    • David V. says:

      11:58am | 22/11/12

      shhhh don’t tell that to the deluded Left, they think Venezuela is a socialist paradise and the road to follow! Except they forget the appalling crime rate, lack of opportunities, slow Internet, etc.

    • KimL says:

      06:56am | 22/11/12

      If India can afford nuclear weapons why are we giving them aide? What ever happened to charity at home first? Before you yell I don’t begrudge helping anyone but with all these asylum seekers lobbing on our door step we should take into account we have to give them board and lodgings too

    • iansand says:

      07:03am | 22/11/12

      Reinstate the Colombo Plan.  For a long time Australia had enormous credit because national leaders had been educated here.  Now overseas students are here on some sort of backdoor route to permanent residence or as cash cows for our universties.

    • Kika says:

      08:54am | 22/11/12

      Plenty of students on the Colombo plan ended up staying here. I know quite a few. Don’t be so naive. Difference was the criteria for applying and staying was harsher because of the White Australia policy. My husband’s father came and studied here under the Colombo plan and was offered to stay on and help the Snowy Mountain scheme thingy (he was an Engineer) or whatever but went home because his wife didn’t want to leave.

      Plenty stayed.

    • iansand says:

      09:41am | 22/11/12

      Plenty went back.

      What is this mad obsession with something having to be perfect to be implemented?  Or the converse, that if something was not 100% perfect it was a failure?

      It is a plague on modern Australian life, and a plague, specifically, in current politics.

    • James Ricketson says:

      07:03am | 22/11/12

      Anyone interested in knowing where Australia’s aid to Cambodia winds up (around $80 million a year) should read CAMBODIA’S CURSE by Joel Brinkley - a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. There will be a good deal of spin coming out of that country in the next few days but if you want to know what actually goes on, Brinkley’s book will shock you not the realisation of how aid can prop up bad and corrupt regimes.

    • Robin says:

      07:48am | 22/11/12

      Angers me.  Poor Cambodia, still getting gouged and hurt.  They really don’t deserve this.

    • Jaqui says:

      09:03am | 22/11/12

      @James: Add Zimbabwe to that list, does anyone really think that despot Mugabe would still be in power if he didn’t have international aid money to use for himself?

    • ns says:

      07:04am | 22/11/12

      I think all foreign aid (cash donations) need to stop - for the moment, we need to get our own house in order before we assist others!!

      The Government is borrowing money from China to give to other countries while cutting funding to different areas.

    • Suzanne says:

      07:19am | 22/11/12

      Chris you are absolutely correct, we need to stop aid to corrupt regimes and corrupt aid funds that siphon money to dictators

    • Bob Stewart, the Elder says:

      07:21am | 22/11/12

      There is far too much aid that makes us feel good. After 22 years in Asia and the Middle East.and recently a visit to the UN in New York, I was appalled at the wealth displayed by delegates from Africa knowing that their people rot..
      Our aid needs a shift from giving money to providing the volunteer teams equipped to deal with the issues in a practical way and to stay the course.
      The many tons of food aid from the ugly Americans delivered to the docks at Mogadishu not so long ago and no UN force to ensure its distribution to the cooking pots. Shifted to the warehouses of the warlords to ensure dependency and thereby the loyalty;. .

      Only to be repeated another year.

    • fml says:

      08:59am | 22/11/12

      Who are you, Hilliary Clinton?

    • James Ricketson says:

      09:09am | 22/11/12

      You are so right, Bob. The donor countries, including Australia, are an integral part of the problem; not the solution. Our own Embassy in Phnom Penh stood by and allowed the illegal eviction of an entire community across the road without uttering a whimper off protest, until, that is, a few hours before the eviction took place - at which point it uttered a few mealy mouthed sentiments about recommending that the rule of law be respected etc.

    • fml says:

      09:21am | 22/11/12

      Sorry, Hilarity Clinton.

    • chuck says:

      07:43am | 22/11/12

      Yes Chris they are no better than bribes and inducements - just look at the the Un non voting security seat fiasco recently. The sooner we get out of this spurious activity the better. These recipient countries are nothing but overpopulated entities overridden by governmental leeches!

    • Kika says:

      08:58am | 22/11/12

      India doesn’t need aid anymore. They are rather wealthy. Yeah they don’t look after the poor, but this is cultural (albeit illegal but it still happens).

      I am all for foreign aid but it must provide education for the kids, health care, control over the supply of antibiotics in third world countries (eg. you can buy antibiotics yourself over the counter at a chemist in India) and family planning advice.

    • Big Jay says:

      09:35am | 22/11/12

      If an IPL (cricket) franchise can find $1.5mil for a top player (say Andrew Symonds a few years back) the country is presumably doing alright.

    • Kika says:

      11:56am | 22/11/12

      That’s the thing isn’t it. The rich are very very rich and the poor are super poor. They will never admit it, but the reason they don’t want this to change is because of the caste system - people are where they are because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

    • Jaqui says:

      09:06am | 22/11/12

      “Foreign Aid” is just code for bribery. Nothing more, nothing less.
      Fact is there are many aboriginal communities that need that aid money, unfortunately for them there isn’t much if anything to be gained by the government.

      I am so glad to see my hard earned tax dollar being used in such a way. Disgusting!

    • James1 says:

      09:57am | 22/11/12

      Nearly every person in those Aboriginal communities receives aid money already - around $492 a fortnight for a single person with no children.  Take into account the subsidised housing and suchlike, and you have a very generous aid program in place.

      To my mind, I would rather any additional money went on the things outlined in the article, rather than pouring more money into heavily subsidised communities in Australia.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      09:22am | 22/11/12

      All of Australia’s Aid Programme should be solely on a “Needs” basis.
      India does not need our Aid. They have a Nuclear weapons programme & an even more expensive, to some pointless, Space Programme. If the Indian Government can afford the billions required for both then they don’t need any Aid.
      At the SE Asian Summit held in Aid-hungry Cambodia, we were shown the delegates from Australia, the USA etc.fart-arsing around in one of the most luxurious, marble & crystal encrusted buildings in the world. It must have cost 100s of millions. This in a country which tells us it can’t afford to supply it’s villages & people with Clean Water, Toilets & the sewerage plants to treat the effluent. A country the government of which tells the world it needs massive amounts of Aid to provide just a simple education for it’s people. A country, like so many others, in which those running live in splendour, amass multi-billion dollar fortunes for themselves & their families. Where does that money come from? The billions in Foreign Aid countries like Australia send them.
      It has been reported that China is also involved in providing Foreign Aid to countries which claim to need Aid. The reports tell us that the canny Chinese do not simply hand over wads of cash & accept the word of those running the beneficiary country. They insist that as it is Chinese money they have the right to oversee the spending of it & ensure that if it is intended to pay for Clean Water supplies & other utilities that is what it is used for. They insist their nationals are allowed in & that they supervise the work, pay the local workers, buy the necessary equipment.
      That is how it should be.
      Why should Australia, or any other country, give Aid to another country which has Oil Reserves of tens of billions of barrels worth 100s of millions of dollars?
      Why should anyone give another country Aid when that country is spending untold billions on armaments, weaponry, satellites, whilst their populations starve & are not even receiving a Basic Education?
      Why should we give Aid to any country which, officially, allows young girls to be sexually abused & subjected to the totally unnecessary, painful & life-threatening ordeal of Genital Mutilation which is oh-so-genteely referred to a Circumcision?
      If boys are taught to wash & keep themselves clean “down there” & unless for genuinely necessary medical reasons, Circumcision for them is also unnecessary.
      Just as our profligate Federal Government spent millions bribing other nations to vote for that pointless seat on that toothless, castrated tiger, the UN Security Council, it is pouring billions into countries & most of those millions & billions will find its way into the pockets & Swiss Bank accounts of those running those countries
      It is our money & it should be us who ensure our money is spent as intended.

    • David V. says:

      09:40am | 22/11/12

      China can give aid to Third World countries, yet rural poverty and inequities in China are worse now than ever before.

    • TChong says:

      10:59am | 22/11/12

      Quite true .The inequality has increased, due to the partial capitalisation of the economy - very few people making obscene amounts of money by exploiting the masses.
      Never woulda thought that you would have got all misty eyed and nostalgic about Communist China, Comrade David.

    • David V. says:

      11:56am | 22/11/12

      For one, I am not a lefty and as you know I HATE the Left. But Chinese Communism has created a society with no morals or conscience, blame Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Which killed more people than Hitler or Stalin ever could. Communism has killed more than anyone else in history, yet the Left makes us oblivious to it.

      China reached its apogee during the Han, Tang, Song and Ming dynasties. Even the periods of fragmentation like the Three Kingdoms saw economic and cultural progress. At least then, China was a beautiful civilisation worth admiring. Today, it is a country where fake stuff, poison, etc proliferates.

    • Hmmmm says:

      09:54am | 22/11/12

      Why dress this up Chris?
      Just say, I’m the President of the PCYC and I’m horrified by the millions we are spending overseas without looking after our own. Give us the damn money instead and watch us help society the way we did in the 80’s.
      I think most of us who are Gen X and older remember the PYC days, sports events for the kids while the parents ate and drank each weekend, multiple sporting clubs supported and attended,
      How about you write up a few thousand words explaining what happened to those days?

    • David V. says:

      10:20am | 22/11/12

      Well simple, stop giving special treatment to minority groups and spend money putting more Australians into education and work.

    • Bomb78 says:

      10:03am | 22/11/12

      The comment about Australia’s ‘lift’ capacity seems to have been missed by all commenting above - today, 80% of our airborne heavy lift capacity will fly over Brisbane at once - just 4 C-17’s.
      The C-17 represents the best available option for airborne heavy lift, but each aircraft costs over $200 million. We purchased a fifth aircraft because the four we had were operating at the maximum capacity. Our ability to react to international emergencies need to be kept in context; in a significant crisis five aircraft will be not much more than symbolic.

    • Dan says:

      10:17am | 22/11/12

      We have stopped giving aid to India, apart from regional aid, same as the Brits. Its because India is getting richer and doesn’t need it now. See announcement on AusAid website.

      In terms of helping Australian banks in Asia, have you been there recently? There are already ANZ branches everywhere. If they can do it without specific assistance then why can’t the other banks?

    • du says:

      11:05am | 22/11/12

      Ever heard of the domino theory.What they could not do in war they achieve with money

    • Joel M-J says:

      12:23pm | 22/11/12

      @ du - You win this weeks award for best misappropriation of a phrase. The Domino Theory.

      P.s. The Domino Theory, which was prevalent in the 60s, has been disproved as a legitimate theory of Global Political Movements. It’s now considered to be not much more than an irrational fear and cold war political rhetoric.

    • Pattem says:

      10:53am | 22/11/12

      @Chris, you wrote: “old style ‘first-world helping out the third-world’ aid program is anachronistic.”

      Well, the Human Development Index is the more modern method for categorising countries.  I agree that 1st, 2nd and 3rd world statuses are anachronistic, and Asia as a region cannot be lumped into any one index category.  To say Asia has Third World status is to say Hong Kong and Burma are on equal standing, economically, technologically, Humanitarianly, etc., which couldn’t be further from the truth.

      You also wrote: “We should fund our major universities to provide facilities, programs and linked scholarships in cities across South Asia, SE Asia and E Africa”

      Well, that is blatantly ignorant, as a number of universities have already established international campuses.  For example:

      Curtin University has a Sarawak Campus.
      Edith Cowan has a Kenyan campus.
      Monash has a campus in Malaysia.
      Murdoch has the International Study Centre in Dubai.

    • BruceS says:

      11:01am | 22/11/12

      Thank you Chris, I agree, in particular the de-funding of NGOs.

    • SAm says:

      11:24am | 22/11/12

      Not 100% behind this.
      In theory, good idea, countries that dont need aid shouldnt be getting it.
      In practice, some countries have a long way to go, and I have no problem with a LITTLE aid going (in the form of food, clothes, doctors and teachers, NOT cash to the governments).
      I disagree on the NGO point too, I think they are better at delivering aid where its needed than government

    • 1984 has come true says:

      11:38am | 22/11/12

      Wow. How naive.

      Aid is a newspeak word. It is just a tool for gaining political leverage or favouritism and authority for the country giving aid.
      The giving country gains more out of it.

      The two US presidential candidates both admitted as much in one of the debates.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:36pm | 22/11/12

      “There should be joint and regular exercises with regional defence forces”

      There is and has been for many, many years. Look up IADS for a start. The Air-force deploys to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore for exercises along with the army and Navy for many of them. Look up Bersama Lima for one of them. Many of those countries come to Australia for our exercises also.

      As for Banks the’re already moving into Asia. The ANZ has had a program for many years and you can find their ATM’s in your travels around fairly often. I’m not happy with tax payers funding private enterprise either for that matter.

    • Leigh says:

      02:02pm | 22/11/12

      Donations by ‘rich’ countries to ‘poor’ countries is emotional claptrap. It merely helps dictators and about 500,000 who work in the industry in the UN, World Bank and the IMF - oh, and the despots in the ‘poor’ countries who siphon off millions.
      Anyone who thinks that foreign aid in its present form works should read ‘Dead Aid’ by Dambis Moyo, a Zambian woman and economist who has worked for the World Bank and other ‘world’ organisations.

    • David V. says:

      03:10pm | 22/11/12

      I recall a professor being embarrassed by evidence that Chinese were practising cannibalism as early as the Shang Dynasty by saying “how could our ancestors be so cruel”. As if they weren’t cruel in modern times, including killing baby girls and, what’s more, using human flesh in pills and dinner.

    • C says:

      04:09pm | 22/11/12

      Indonesia is a wealthy country - the problem is that 95% of the wealth is owned by 5% of the population and they have no intention of sharing it.  Islamic social welfare philosophy is also quite different from “Christian” social welfare philosophy.
      There is a similar situation in many other countries. There are also many other issues which cause people to be “poor” and they are not all related to environment, terrain, language, culture etc.
      Most aid at inter-governmental levels and at the level of big NGOs experiences high levels of wastage.
      The most effective aid is the sort that most people do not even realise exists - doctors giving up leave to go and vaccinate children, an engineer spending three months somewhere seeing a bridge gets built or a road made, a health worker organising a water supply and taking in mosquito nets, someone donating a canoe which can be used to transport the sick etc etc.
      One of the biggest problems is that governments think in terms of “big” projects and NGOs believe they are responding to complex humanitarian emergencies. The first are often not what people need most and the second could often be handled by the local people if they were given a different sort of assistance in the first place.
      It is all immensely complex - but yes, far too much aid money gets wasted and is spent in the wrong places.

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      04:49pm | 22/11/12

      When you see the little toddler with the runny nose and big eyes. When you see the little girl tapping on your car window. When you are handed a shell as a ‘gift’ by some children dressed in rags your heart goes out.

      But after a few visits and some observation and you see the kids take the money to a man hiding in the shadows you realise that these kids are stooges and receive very little of what you give them.

      Better to buy them a meal. Some rice or noodles with meat and an egg. That can’t be pocketed by their owner.

      Same on a national front. TAKE them food. Grain, canned protien. Dried meat and fruit, and have it handed out under the control of local army and Australians.

      NEVER TRUST POLITICIANS of any level with money.


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