Tasmanians voice support for international need

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Home > Media > News > Tasmanians voice support for international need
Tasmanians voice support for international need

Parishioners from St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hobart recently produced a petition to lobby the Government for an increase in its foreign aid output.

The petition was presented to Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison, today at his Hobart office.

St Joseph’s representative Doug Fry said parishioners would like to see the Australian Government increase the money it gives to countries in need, as outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development goals, which encourage countries to raise their Foreign Aid contributions to 0.7% of their Gross National Income.

With recent aid cuts, Australia’s total contribution to foreign aid sits at merely 0.32% of its Gross National Income.
However, for Mr Fry, the personal commitment to one’s neighbour is the principle that makes the petition most necessary.

“An axom that we should live by, rather than merely enumerating our sins, is to ask, “What have I failed to do?” If you fail to do the right thing by your brother or your sister, than you’ve failed yourself, so you’ve just gotta get up and have a go.”

The petition speaks of Australia as a ‘global leader’ in the movement to end extreme poverty, especially in the Asia Pacific region, and states that the cuts to Australia’s budget are putting “Australia near the bottom of the OECD rankings as a contributor to international aid and development.”

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison, who will present the petition at a sitting of Parliament this fortnight, spoke of the importance of ongoing discussion of Australia’s Aid contribution.

“We have to keep the issue alive and keep the pressure on,” he said.

“Activities like this are very powerful, because the Government can’t ignore indefinitely the will of the people.
“The more governments understand that this is an important issue for a lot of people, the more they understand the chance of resolving this issue down the track.”

Tasmanian Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Resource Officer Margaret Donaghy, said there was also good fiscal sense in the petition’s demands of an increase to our aid budget,

“It’s in Australia’s self-interest for consumer and economic reasons, because when we lift other countries up they start consuming from our goods,” she said.

Photo: L-R: Fr Peter Addicoat, St Joseph’s Catholic Church Parish Priest, MP Andrew Wilkie, Doug Fry, Parishioner at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Margaret Donaghy, Resource Officer, Tasmanian Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.