Abbott Government Cuts $650 Million From Foreign Aid

The Abbott government has announced $650 million of cuts to Australia’s foreign aid program.

BishopThe Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, said the government will cut $61 million from the Pacific region. Only Nauru, which houses around a thousand asylum seekers on behalf of Australia, will be exempt.

Other cuts include $59 million from Indonesia, $71 million from South and West Asia, $113 million from Africa and the Middle East, and $5.3 million from Latin America and the Carribean.

Figures released by Bishop show that Australia spent $3,747 million ($3.7 billion) in aid in 2012-13. The Gillard government’s budget increased this to $4,223.5 million for 2013-14. The Abbott government will reduce this to $3,598 million this financial year, a reduction of $625 million and $149 million less than last year’s actual spending. [Read more…]


Stott Despoja, Former Democrats Leader, Appointed Ambassador For Women And Girls

The Abbott government has appointed the former leader of the Australian Democrats, Natasha Stott Despoja, as the next Ambassador for Women and Girls.

Stott Despoja

In announcing the appointment, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said “gender empowerment is a priority for the Australian Government’s overseas development program”. She said it was the government’s wish “to be at the forefront of efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region”. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott’s Weary Dunlop Speech To AsiaLink

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has given a wide-ranging speech about Australia’s relationship with Asia.

Abbott delivered the Weary Dunlop lecture to AsiaLink in Melbourne.

Abbott

He reiterated his earlier remarks that his approach to foreign policy would have a “Jakarta not Geneva” focus.

In the speech, Abbott discussed Australia’s relationship with Indonesia, India and China. He touched on foreign aid, international students and the study of Asian languages in Australian schools. [Read more…]


Bishop Says AusAID Abolition Heralds Alignment Of Foreign, Trade And Development Policies

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, says the integration of AusAID with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade marks “a significant milestone for Australia’s international engagement.

BishopUnder the Abbott government’s new administrative arrangements, AusAID is abolished as of today and responsibility for foreign aid returns to the department.

AusAID was established in 1974 by the Whitlam government as the Australian Development Assistance Agency. It underwent a number of name changes until the Keating government settled on AusAID in 1995.

In a statement today, Bishop said: “DFAT is now responsible for development policy and the delivery of Australia’s aid program. The outcome of this major change will be the alignment of Australia’s foreign, trade and development policies and programs in a coherent, effective and efficient way.”

Statement from Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

A new era in diplomacy

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the integration of AusAID with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on 1 November marked a significant milestone for Australia’s international engagement. [Read more…]


East Timor Troop Numbers To Be Cut

Australia is to reduce the number of troops in East Timor to 650 by early 2009. The announcement was made today by the Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon. [Read more…]


Rudd Sends More Peacekeepers To East Timor

More Australian peacekeeping personnel will be sent to East Timor, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced today.

The decision follows the assassination attempt on the East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta.

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, Rudd emphasised the significance of an attack on the democratic process in one of Australia’s near neighbours.

  • Listen to Kevin Rudd’s press conference (21m)

Howard Statement On Tsunami Anniversary

It is one year since the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated areas of the sub-continent and South Asia.

Around a quarter of a million people lost their lives in one of the most deadly natural disasters of recent times.

This is the text of a media statement from the Prime Minister, John Howard.

FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI

I invite all Australians to join me today in marking the first anniversary of the terrible events of Boxing Day last year, when the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami caused loss of life and property on an almost unimaginable scale. [Read more…]