Aid

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.

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  • 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… Read more »

  • 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… Read more »

 

The government has actually borrowed billions to buy a vanity pulpit for Kevin Rudd.

KRudd sits here. Image: Tiedemann

But it’s not going to be occupied by him – unless of course there is another coup by the faceless men and the ALP decides after all the nasty things they said they want him back.

Until then Julia Gillard and Bob Carr will use their very expensive new toy, the vanity pulpit, to bore us with endless “initiatives” on world issues. The fact is the Russians and Chinese who actually run the Security Council will ignore each of them.

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  • Achmed says:

    06:46pm | 24/10/12

    @JamesP….in terms what has been said about superannuation there is misinformation from Rosie.  Superannuation funds that are below the limit or not active are held by super funds and even though there is no activity in the account they still charge the administration fees and collecting interest on the money,… Read more »

  • Robert S McCormick says:

    06:39pm | 24/10/12

    Like Australia’s continuing presence & the ever-increasing number of totally unnecessary deaths of young people on Afghanistan, this seat on the un-democratice UN Security Council is a monumental waste of time & money.Gillard will, as is usaual for this poltical opportunist, offer that seat to her nemesis: Kevin Rudd. He’ll… Read more »

 

The fussy asylum seekers from Sri Lanka—one look at Nauru and they are off back home—have raised serious questions for the Federal Government on who is a genuine refugee.

Not exactly what you'd call warm and welcoming living conditions

The voluntary returnees risk tainting the asylum seeker debate against those who really are trying to escape death and harassment based on their ethnic, political or religious backgrounds.

At the same time, they are raising Government hopes that the new version of the Pacific Solution might be starting to work as a genuine deterrent to irregular arrivals.

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  • Sinbad says:

    07:53pm | 01/10/12

    @ Gregg. The prospects are not looking too good at the moment for Australia. At this rate even the new limit of 20,000 refugees a year are going to be filled in by the boatpeople this year. Read more »

  • Achmed says:

    07:16pm | 01/10/12

    Marley..stay inside your little box….. explain why a person could not be assessed as meeting the criteria while still in country. Write the rules to suit the circumstance.  We want to stop boats so why wait until they get here? Read more »

 

Millions of human lives are at risk. Again. Another famine looms in Africa, this time in the continent’s West. Countries of the Sahel region, including Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Africa’s smallest nation, The Gambia, are in the midst of a developing food crisis.

How do we explain donor fatigue to them? Picture: Actionaid

Their people are beginning to die.

Sadly, it’s a tired tale. African famines have haunted our headlines for decades, and they’re still coming hard and fast. Just last year we saw thousands of lives lost in East Africa, and too few saved when the developed world and its aid agencies dashed in to save them from a famine that was already well-established.

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  • Paul M says:

    12:10am | 11/06/12

    “The last drought and it’s death toll was exacerbated by war lords and militia who prevented crops from being sown, watered, harvested or stored.” Yup. The famines are cause by politics, not climate. Dig a little, and you’ll find is basically one ethnic group wiping out another. The westerners don’t… Read more »

  • Scotty mac says:

    07:02pm | 09/06/12

    See the latest GREENS Fiasco in Indonesia of planting trees. It now seems the tree planting scheme has turned out to be a complete waste of tax payers and investors money. One could call it a monumental waste. Yes, we are fools. Read more »

 

Ten million children vaccinated. 2.5 million people with access to safe drinking water. And 30 million people supported through humanitarian crises like famine and war. These are some outcomes to be delivered this year, by Australia’s Budget for overseas aid.


This year, Australia’s aid budget will rise – by $300 million, to a record $5.2 billion. And it will go on rising - reaching $7.7 billion in three year’s time.

In dollar terms our aid budget is the largest in our history. As a percentage of Gross National Income, it’s at 0.35%, rising to 0.5% by 2016/17. That’s just one year later than planned – a pretty good outcome in a tough budget year.

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  • buy oem software says:

    11:09am | 19/08/12

    S5MiEy Very informative post.Much thanks again. Fantastic. Read more »

  • Tet says:

    01:39pm | 18/05/12

    Charity starts at home. I would rather see my tax money going to help out a man living on OUR streets than to a country who cannot control their ability to procreate despite having no means to support they 15th child. Also, i wonder what percentage of this aid actually… Read more »

 

In the summer of 1858, the Great Stink overwhelmed London. The stench of raw sewerage festering in the Thames nearly forced Parliament to abandon Westminster. In the previous decade, tens of thousands of Londoners had died of cholera caused by the contaminated water.

Although many would question whether the Thames is much cleaner nowadays…

Two men, Dr John Snow and an engineer named Joseph Bazalgette, ended the cholera epidemics with the life-saving discovery that hand-washing with soap prevents the spread of the disease, and by developing an innovative sewerage system that rid the streets of shit. 

The network of sewers built by Bazalgette is still used by Londoners today. Yet 2.5 billion people around the world still don’t have access to basic sanitation, and every day 4000 children under the age of 5 die of diarrhoea.

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  • Urg says:

    08:56pm | 09/03/12

    Tim love the ideas in this article but I am disturbed by it’s title. Engineers will NEVER “save” the third world. This sentiment is offensive and it blows me away that someone so heavily involved with Oxfam would make sure a statement. People in developing communities are ultimately the ones… Read more »

  • marley says:

    01:15pm | 29/02/12

    @Austin:  further to my comment, here’s the link I forgot to include: http://www.iussp.org/Brazil2001/s60/S62_03_khraif.pdf Read more »

 

In 10 days I’m going to get on a plane and go to Kenya. I’ve packed my clothes, my sunscreen, my wide-brimmed hat and my mosquito net. I’ve also packed the $7,000 dollars I raised to fund the building of an orphanage in Mangu – the project I’ll be working on.

You don't have to look like this to make a difference. Picture: AP

I’ve also packed another $1,000 of my own money to spend at the local market on gifts, books, schoolbags, pens and paper for the kids. So with this in mind, you can imagine my surprise when this bold opinion piece was emailed to me: “Hands-on help can be harmful”.

There are always rotten apples in the barrel and clearly there are some overseas volunteer projects that are not set up with the best of intentions. And I agree that for many overseas projects there should be formal checks on those working with children.

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  • Seth Brundle says:

    08:39am | 12/01/12

    Not a very popular sentiment.  But unfortunately true.  Creating life in a land incapable of supporting life is never a good move, and perpetuating the situation is just downright stupid. Read more »

  • Seth Brundle says:

    08:36am | 12/01/12

    $27K out of $160 is trivial.  We spend more than $27K flying a single retired minister around in a year. Read more »

 

What happened
For at least the fourth time since the “Band Aid” famine of the 1980s , the beleaguered citizens of the Horn of Africa endured famine, as a result of ongoing drought, desertification and civil strife.

The human face of tragedy

Refugee camps in northern Kenya swelled massively, the Dadaab camp bursting with half a million people. As the crisis unfolded, a British newspaper warned that if the West failed to act appropriately, it would be as complicit as the warlords exacerbating the situation in Africa.

What happened next
The West did indeed open its pockets. The UK government’s initial AID package was the equivalent of $60 million. By the first week of December, Australians had donated $12.7 million, and the government matched the donations under their dollar-for-dollar aid scheme. The crisis continues.

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  • Bertrand says:

    11:01am | 19/12/11

    This brings me to the second main point you made, which is that my argument that, “Your arguments that these people deserve to die because they haven’t pushed hard enough for political and economic reform or because there are structural problems with the overall way aid is delivered in Africa… Read more »

  • Bertrand says:

    11:00am | 19/12/11

    St. Michael, You said, “No one is going to fix the “structural problems”—or the less politically correct concepts of widespread corruption, fraud, theft, and embezzlement in aid agencies and the nations they service—if they’ve had this long to figure it out and if multiple whistleblowers have been saying exactly the… Read more »

 

Last Friday, 16 September, Papua New Guinea celebrated the 36th anniversary of its independence.


The last 36 years has been an endlessly fascinating journey for a country with which Australia has had an abiding interest. Yet you wouldn’t know this from our media. With less Australians based in PNG since Independence it seems PNG’s profile in our national discourse has diminished and this has to change.

So last night PNG’s Independence Day was marked in the Commonwealth Parliament through the inaugural PNG Independence Day Oration.

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  • esteban says:

    06:19pm | 21/09/11

    Mendi Southern highlands? Read more »

  • Nic says:

    05:56pm | 21/09/11

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10753391 Yet another example of why I want nothing to do with the country. All you ever hear of it are these kind of terrible stories Read more »

 

Neuroscientists have found that over 80 per cent of calories that newborns ingest fuel their brains. The colossal statistic accounts for how rapidly the young brain grows and develops.

Not enough to go around. Image: AP.

It paints us a new picture of malnutrition. It tells us that babies caught up in the developing famine in East Africa will almost certainly suffer starvation-induced damage that will have long-term developmental effects on their minds.

Babies are arriving in field hospitals in Dadaab, Kenya, too weak to cry. Many weigh a third of what they should.

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  • josh says:

    08:51am | 29/08/11

    So now you want people to be forced to live differently so someone in Africa who won’t stop having kids can be given the freedom to have more ? Karl Marx would be so proud. Read more »

  • Gen says:

    09:11pm | 27/08/11

    We are starting to see the effects of overpopulation.  The earth simply cannot sustain endless population growth and will correct this itself with droughts, famines and disease.  I think there is little that can be done if population growth is not addressed.  Send money and the cycle will continue. Read more »

 

Want to know how Australia’s $4.836 billion in Australian overseas aid will be spent in 2011-12? Finding out is not easy of you are a journalist or documentary filmmaker and do not want to rely only on Department of Foreign Affairs press releases and what is to be found on the DFAT and AusAID websites.

Now don't you go hiding the facts, Mr Rudd. Photo: Ten Network

“I am committed to enhancing the transparency of our aid program,” writes Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd on the DFAT website. “When people are able to access information, they are better able to hold those who are managing their money — whether AusAID, partner governments, or international organisations — to account.”

Noble sentiments - but how does Rudd’s professed commitment to transparency and accountability stack up when it comes to providing media access to the aid programs on which this money is being spent?

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  • Vincent says:

    11:09pm | 17/04/12

    China currently teaches Africans by example, more than few former parasite and good doer western nations ever did.  Africans currently learn from Chinese constructive participation in African countries. Read more »

  • Jac says:

    06:26pm | 08/08/11

    Kevin, You have my permission to take 30,000 refugees for Australia. Read more »

 

A couple of weeks ago Ant Sharwood gave me a call and started talking about the Horn of Africa. He was pretty fired up, and talking about various types of excrement hitting various types of oscillating devices.

Somalis perform funeral prayers over the body of a malnourished child who died this week at a refugee camp in Mogadishu. Photo: AP

I was pretty distracted. There’d been a lot going on. That tax thing had just been announced, sharia law was in the news – you know, all the hot button stuff. Africa was not in the news. Well, it was, but back in the World section, the bit you don’t always manage to get to. That’s the hollow ring of self justification you can hear there, folks.

Anyhoo, Ant wrote this great piece. And he was right. The shit has really hit the fan, and it was a terrible surprise for many who probably should have seen it coming. Should have seen it coming for not just years, but decades.

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  • alan says:

    02:10pm | 04/08/11

    Have any of you ever questioned why Africa is in poverty in the first place? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Africa was a very rich country to begin with, that was until western/european nations colonised and invaded Africa and stole everything that was of value… Read more »

  • Sarah says:

    07:27pm | 02/08/11

    @Jack. You filthy, misogynistic bastard. Has it ever occurred to you that Africa’s overpopulation is a direct result of the millions of women who are raped repeatedly? Rape is everywhere in Africa, it is the most common crime perpetrated in that god fosaken land. It is used as a weapon… Read more »

 

It is 27 years since a bunch of do-gooding musicians, led by Bob Geldof, banded together to alert the world to a North African famine. We need more than a Band Aid solution this time.

Since the 1984 famine, the so-called “horn” of Africa – which includes Somalia, Ethiopia, the tiny nation of Djibouti and northern Kenya – has had several crippling droughts which have led to famines. The last really bad one was in 2006. But there were several between then and the Band Aid era.

And now, the curse of famine is descending upon the region again, due to a combination of the usual suspects of drought, desertification, crop failure and military conflicts. Early estimates suggest that 10 million people are at risk of starvation.

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  • bileKindida says:

    11:12am | 14/12/12

    ugg sale van fmf emn ule ugg boots  lsawkj rag ztu coach factory outlet yjtkwn ocr ihg Read more »

  • Not politically correct says:

    10:24am | 03/08/12

    Malthusian catastrophe was only delayed, not averted. Lets just hope population peaks soon enough before collective stupidity and shortsightedness of the human race doom us all into extinction. BTW I fail to see why reproduction while allowing a future billions to starve in poverty is an inalienable individual right. If… Read more »

 

Floods, earthquakes, droughts and cyclones are becoming more frequent around the world and the number of people affected by them is growing. In developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand we are experiencing firsthand the demands these events place on those directly affected and on those responding. In developing countries these challenges are amplified.

Sadly, we're going to need more programs like this, not less. Image: AFP

As Australia’s aid program continues to grow – in line with the bi-partisan commitment for aid funding to reach half a per cent of our national income by 2015 – it will become even more important to make sure we are using this money effectively. The current Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness, led by Sandy Hollway, is timely, needed and most welcome.

Australia’s aid program has experienced an unusually high profile in recent weeks. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s proposal to ‘defer’ a $448 million aid program to Indonesian schools – and the alleged ructions in Shadow Cabinet over it – generated a lively public debate.

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  • Fiona says:

    10:49pm | 24/04/12

    A case of feminist man-bashing? Its a fact of the injustice of global poverty. These statistics can be found here http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/gii/ Your final paragraph is one of the more worrying things i’ve read online in a while-not only does it highlight your lack of intellectual curiosity as to the impact… Read more »

  • Olivia says:

    03:57pm | 02/03/11

    Less advocacy, more substance: http://aidreview.lowyinterpreter.org/ Read more »

 

Tony Abbott’s suggestion of cutting aid to Indonesia to fund Queensland flood reconstruction was met with immediate fury from aid experts, who declared the decision morally bankrupt.

Women in Afghanistan understand the true cost of war. Photo: AFP.

Yet Mr Abbott’s announcement has raised an important issue that should not simply be brushed under the carpet: the need for aid effectiveness.

When he announced the proposed cut, Mr Abbott said funding would be “deferred” subject to a full review of the effectiveness of the program.

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  • Rebecca says:

    07:49am | 18/02/11

    should read “why AREN’T we supporting them…” Read more »

  • persephone says:

    06:40am | 18/02/11

    Hamlyn the shortage of doctors has nothing to do with Youth Allowance. Places for medical students were limited under the Howard government, as the result of lobbying by doctors who wanted to lessen competition so that they could make more money (mind you, they wanted to achieve this without them… Read more »

 

We need to cut our foreign aid budget to help for the reconstruction of Queensland and to help Queenslanders get back on their feet.

This AusAID pic shows PNG villagers using water purification tablets

There are three main reasons why we should look for savings within the aid budget.

First, the aid budget is set to undergo a massive increase in the next few years and there is room for cuts. Currently, according AusAID, the agency that hands out our foreign aid, our aid budget is about $4.3 billion. According to AusAID projections, this will increase to $4.84 billion in 2011-12; $5.53 billion in 2012-13; $6.44 billion in 2013-14; $7.42 billion in 2014-15; and $8.49 billion in 2015-16.

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  • wondering says:

    07:30am | 25/04/12

    I would love to know if Tim Costello ever built any homes for the people out of the Tsumani money.  How much of taxpayer money did or does he spend on air fares and accommodation and taxi services and his credit card. He even took friends overseas with him.  Everything… Read more »

  • Ionut says:

    04:01pm | 10/02/12

    Oh! Dear Alex! Such an asmniug fellow. He does his best to lighten our burdens with his gentle humour… Read more »

 

Here’s a great story in the spirit of the festive season.

Aiming for independence

Melbourne-based academic and human rights advocate Sekai Shand has spent the majority of the last 25 years working in various international disaster zones.

But she recently returned home to the African village where she was raised to perform her most important mission yet - helping the women of her village overcome poverty and violence through self-sufficiency.

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  • Eric says:

    05:22am | 21/12/10

    Well, perhaps I’ve gone overboard on this article. It seemed to be one in a series - some of which I’ve referred to in other comments. But if, as you say, Dr Shand really is an exception, then please accept my apologies to both of you. Read more »

  • Mandy Mc says:

    08:35pm | 20/12/10

    Hear Hear John, Global Giving is a great cause (allowing small Social Entreprenuers to set up aggregated funding sources) and I concur with John’s comments your article’s have been great (even if you didn’t publish one of mine, ha ha) - keep up the great work Punch crew Read more »

 

Sometimes we need to create a big stink to change people’s minds. I’d like to create a Big Stink.

Cartoon: Melbourne Punch, 1864.

We forget the lessons of history at our peril.

In the late 19th century it took the stench of raw sewage in our cities to convince politicians to pass legislation and provide safe sanitation and water to protect Australians who were dying daily of preventable diseases like diarrhoea.

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  • ooxpxurncdc says:

    08:49pm | 03/03/11

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  • Ben Dickson says:

    01:37am | 23/11/10

    Mr. Tony, several 20th century dictators would be proud of the “green” idea of forced sterilization of brown people to keep them from having too many kids. Of course, they were wrong as are you. As any educated person knows, birth rate is inversely proportional to child mortality and prosperity… Read more »

 

One of the more unedifying spectacles on the world stage in the last fortnight has been the verbal dogfight between Bob Geldof and the BBC over aid to Ethiopia.

For me the allegations, that money from Band Aid and Live Aid was diverted for political and military purposes, and Geldof’s furious denunciations, had particular resonance.

Exactly twenty years ago, I was in Ethiopia to make a film for Four Corners, called the Forgotten Famine, which addressed some of these issues on the spot. The debate today seems to me confused, exaggerated and divorced from reality.

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  • Phil says:

    04:27am | 18/03/10

    Eric, are you seriously still trying to claim that one of the reasons for invasion was stopping WMD production? There was no production. There were no feasible plans for production. They made it all up. Similarly Saddam’s alleged support for terrorism, there is not one credible piece of evidence that… Read more »

  • Astrosodi says:

    09:52pm | 17/03/10

    Hi Eric I don’t presume anyone is good or bad purely based on membership to class, regardless of where you feel that class may sit on a left/right line. I’m not sure what you’re assuming about me, but I appreciate (as I’ve stated) that there are many complex and interrelated… Read more »

 

Just once I’d like to see a celebrity, the kind that make a lot of fuss about pledging money to a cause like Haiti, to follow through.

It doesn’t matter which one. I just want to see them turn up again a few months-even a year- later to check how things are going. After the camera’s been turned off and around the time we’ve all started to forget how badly we cared about it.

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  • BT says:

    02:09pm | 05/02/10

    MarK, what you are saying is true, and I think a lot of people are sincere about wanting to help those in impoverished nations, however my point is that people give their hard earned cash, willingly or as part of foreign aid spending allocated by government, without any accountability for… Read more »

  • MarK says:

    12:40pm | 05/02/10

    Sogge is not against helping/giving aid but the they way thigns have been done, you have failed to serperate Joe blogs giving to disaster relife, from NGOs implementing effective long term developemnt projects, government directed foreign aid and the likes of the IMF/World Bank and their path of destruction. Joe… Read more »

 

As the rescue operation in Haiti begins to shift to one of recovery, the global community is now beginning to see the true scale of the disaster which has struck the tiny Carribean nation. Natural disasters such as the Haitian earthquake, the Samoan and Tongan tsunami of last year and the Asian tsunami of 2004 always bring out a truly astounding expression of a shared humanity.

A Haitian woman grieves outside the collapsed Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo Getty

Natural disasters bring poverty to the fore but the fact is extreme poverty is a daily reality for far too many people around the world.

25,000 children will die today from preventable diseases, 900 million people around the world will go to sleep hungry tonight, and tomorrow 1.4billion people will be forced to survive on less than US$1.25 for the day – more than two-thirds of them women and children.

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  • Dan Lewis says:

    10:18pm | 27/01/10

    Is there any chance we can fly Marilyn Shepherd over to Haiti, permanently? Actually, never mind. Those people have suffered enough already. Read more »

  • Marilyn Shepherd says:

    02:16am | 26/01/10

    $15 million and a few airport controllers?  WE spend over $100 million per year locking up a few hundred innocent refugees and another $300 million in illegal activity all over Asia to stop a few hundred more from getting here. You need to take your hand off it old son. Read more »

 

This week I have been travelling around the Central and Western wheat-belt of NSW and have seen the destruction that the drought is again bringing to many regions. The dust storm which hit Sydney also took with it the hopes and this year’s incomes of many country people.

Sheep moving through a stunted wheat crop

I would normally never publish a letter like this, however, time is running out for many farmers and I can only hope that by publishing this letter on The Punch, the Prime Minister takes an interest and finds the time to visit the men and women for whom the drought is now becoming a reoccurring nightmare.

Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Suite MG 8
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

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  • Leomar says:

    10:35am | 07/02/12

    That is an amswoee picture.My mother has some really old picutre of my great grandparents on one side of the family in some kind od similar wagon.I’ve always loved looking at those old pictures.I don’t blame you though, hay is nasty. Read more »

  • Steve says:

    03:35am | 30/03/10

    Wow Greg, Lets not bother having any industry in Australia at all. Just give it to every one else except Australians…......Lets face it every one else is far more important than our own struggling fellow Aussies, I guess thats what you mean. Read more »

 

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