DOCTORS CALL FOR BUDGET TO REDUCE MILITARY SPEND & INCREASE FOREIGN AID

 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING, APRIL 18

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) calls on Prime Minister Turnbull to restore Australia’s development aid budget which dropped to all-time low levels under his predecessor. This could be readily achieved by reducing our military budget. 

The slashing of our aid budget is occurring while Australia’s expenditures on war and its preparation continue to massively increase. The 2016 Defence White Paper indicated that an additional $29.9 billion would be provided to Australia’s military over the next 10 years, despite stating that “there is no more than a remote prospect of a military attack by another country on Australian territory in the foreseeable future”.  

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said, “A far greater emphasis on foreign aid and less on Australia as a fighting nation is not only acting responsibly towards some of the poorest people on earth, but also less polarising. Our nation’s military actions in the Middle East have resulted in greater risk from terrorism, with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the formation of ISIS in its wake.”

Dr Beavis said that our overseas aid should be restored not only to the pre-2014 levels, but to the target set by the UN for developed countries of 0.7% GDP. “The UK reached aid levels of 0.7% GNI in 2013, and has passed a bill enshrining this commitment long term. Australia is shirking its international responsibilities”. 

She noted two particularly short-sighted and irresponsible examples of grossly inadequate aid from Australia: “Our aid to the Middle East and North Africa, the very areas where the winning of “hearts and minds” is critical, has been slashed in recent budgets. And even the $1 billion recently pledged for climate change mitigation at the COP21 Paris Summit will be at the expense of other aid projects. This is deceptive and shameful.”

FOR INTERVIEW:

Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

Dr Sue Wareham landline (02) 6253 1117 mobile 0407 924 152