Dec 20, 2012

Nothing new: ‘aid’ has long gone to business, immigration, military

The latest case of foreign aid being diverted to cover the processing of asylum seekers in Australia is part of a long, bipartisan trend of raiding aid "in the national interest". Thulsi Narayanasamy and Gareth Bryant of AID/WATCH explain.

News that $375 million of this year’s aid budget will be diverted to the costs of processing and supporting asylum seekers in Australia (and possibly offshore) is the second time in the space of weeks that the government has found itself on the edge of internationally recognised rules on aid.

Aid organisations and refugee rights activists have criticised the decision, the latest example of a government raiding Australia’s aid program for its own political ends.

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One thought on “Nothing new: ‘aid’ has long gone to business, immigration, military

  1. kraken

    Whilst I agree with the tenor of your piece, it is not correct to assert aid money was used to construct detention facilities on Manus and Nauru. The misuse of aid was not so overt. Aid was used to oil the wheels (on ODA related activities) in PNG and Nauru, and the totals were greater. I have contended previously that the ramping up of aid to Nauru was little more than a bribe to facilitate the housing of two facilities. The Howard govt was careful to differentiate between expenditures on immigration & aid activities, although the funds came out of the same cabinet approved bucket. The total amounts expended were greater than $27m. The Howard govt was especially adept at using OECD definitions of what can be considered Official Development Assistance to feather its own nest and those of compliant neighbouring governments and its political mates in the business world. I was an AusAID Director of the Nauru aid component during the Pacific Solution fiasco and served on Howard’s task force for my sins. I know of what I speak.

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