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Government aid decision a mistake: Greens

Senator Rhiannon also gave a press conference on this issue on 9 May.

The Australian Greens say the government's decision to defer the promised increase in overseas aid in this year's budget is a serious mistake. 

"It is disappointing that because it locked itself into obtaining a surplus the government has broken its commitment to increase foreign aid," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

"The global community and our nearest neighbours will take a dim view of Australia going back on its word.

"Australia stakes its reputation on doing as it says but Labor is now reneging on promises made in international fora, and at the 2007 and 2010 elections, to increase overseas to 0.5% of gross national income by 2015.

"This move will damage Australia's international reputation. 

Greens Senator and overseas aid spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said "Australia is a wealthy country and can afford to maintain our commitment to 0.5% GNI by 2015.

"Australia is playing the bad neighbour in a region with some of the highest rates of poverty and child malnutrition in the world. 

"The UK's economy suffered a larger blow than Australia in the global financial crisis yet Prime Minister David Cameron maintained his commitment to aid increases, despite recommendations from the House of Lords to suspend aid increases.

"Figures released this month ranked Australia 13 out of 23 wealthy OECD countries in terms of the amount of national income that goes to aid, putting Australia's aid commitment well behind the OECD average", said Senator Rhiannon.

Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said: "We call on the government to reconsider the revenue-raising options put forward by the Greens to get Australia's aid commitment back on track and maintain our international standing."

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