Stephanie Lentz

Do cuts to Indonesian foreign aid pass the fairness test?

Image: AAP

With potential cuts to Indonesian foreign aid leaked prior to the #Budget2015 and confirmed last night, Steph Lentz asks us all to take the fairness test and consider if such is right or wrong.

Last week, news stories began filtering through about withdrawing foreign aid from Indonesia, confirmed in last night’s budget.

In Indonesia specifically, such cuts to foreign aid expose that Australian aid is handled irresponsibly, more as an instrument of political power rather than to help people build a better future.

Foreign aid is in our budget not so that we can strong-arm our neighbours into behaving well, but because Australians are good neighbours to people living in poor communities throughout and beyond our region.

Australian foreign aid is effective and it’s part of who we are. This is the only foundation that will ensure it remains strong in an often violent and always volatile world.

If this is the rationale for why we give foreign aid, it makes no sense to withdraw aid from Indonesia because their justice system has failed to respect the sanctity of human life; indeed, it is our shared humanity that compels us to share our benefits in the first place.

No matter how deplorably another nation’s leaders act, Australia must maintain its commitment to Australian foreign aid because it is vital to our national identity in the global community as a people who, in the face of what’s wildly unjust, still strive for a fair go for every person.

We don’t have a leg to stand on if we respond to the injustice of Chan’s and Sukumaran’s deaths by unfairly punishing Indonesia’s poorest communities and the millions of promising people who call them home.

Take the fairnesstest.com and consider the place of Australian aid as an expression of our fairness as a nation.

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