The Australian Government must not play politics with the lives of the poor: Oxfam

Media Releases, News article written on the 16 Jul 2014

Oxfam has today called on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to confirm there will be no further cuts to foreign aid, after suggestions the budget could be propped up by those already below the poverty line.

Treasurer Joe Hockey today highlighted aid as an area that does not require legislation in order to receive further cuts.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the Treasurer’s comments were deeply concerning.

“Treasurer Joe Hockey should not play politics with the lives of the poor,” Dr Szoke said.

“The reality is that today 1 in 8 people are suffering from hunger, on average every 2 minutes a woman will die due to childbirth or pregnancy-related complications, and about 18,000 children will not make it to tomorrow.

“This reality is faced by many millions of people, in many nations close to Australia’s shores. Australia’s support to help tackle the poverty and inequality that causes these shocking realities for the world’s poorest people should never be held to ransom.”

The $7.6 billion in cuts to foreign aid announced in the Federal Budget already account for 20 per cent of all savings. These cuts have meant that Australia’s aid effort is less than half of that of other nations like the United Kingdom.

“We urge the Foreign Minister to confirm that the Government will not be looking for extra funds from the pockets of those who can least afford it,” Dr Szoke said.

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