Page 1204 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
AusAID, who, through local partnerships, work hard to develop essential services for ordinary people in our region; ignoring the intelligence and policy professionals who contribute to the government’s understanding of the world in which Australia resides; ignoring those trying to reduce climate emissions so as to ensure our security in the future; and ignoring those who actually hold a hose to fight our bushfires. I say that their jobs are important too.
An increase in foreign aid spending, especially in the area of climate resilience, will assist in reducing regional pressures. The Greens’ policy proposes to increase our aid spending to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, an amount equivalent to what other developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark, spend. This is the United Nations target as well for developed countries. I stand with the United Nations, Mr Hanson. 0.7 per cent fulfils our moral responsibility as well as our obligations and strategic interests to provide support to a disaster area that needs it most.
The Greens recognise the need to act on the threat of climate change in our region, to alleviate suffering and solve human problems before they become military matters. That is why the policy also proposes to commit $1.6 billion per year in climate finance, in recognition of how important aid is to many of these issues. The policy also proposes to establish an independent oversight agency and to reinstate a minister for international development in the Pacific. This investment would be welcome within the Pacific region and would do far more to promote security than sending Junior Woodchuck to apply a bandaid after Australia’s greatest security failure since the Second World War.
The people of Lismore understood what security meant when no government assistance was on hand as the floodwaters rose. The people fighting the bushfires got it when everyone needed to hold a hose. The people of the Pacific Islands get it as their islands disappear under the waves.
Let’s talk about the speech that has got Mr Hanson’s knickers in a knot. Ms Clay spoke in this chamber about the Australian War Memorial, which, first and foremost, we must remember is a shrine. It contains the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an ordinary person who would have seen the unimaginable horrors of WWI. The Unknown Soldier, lying under the inscription, “Known unto God”, represents all who have died.
The Australian War Memorial commemorates the sacrifice of Australians who have died in war or in operational service. Along the long walls leading up to the tomb is the Roll of Honour, which contains the names of 102,000 Australians who have fallen either in the course of war or in operations. I, like a lot of Canberrans, have family memorialised on that Roll of Honour and I think about them every ANZAC and Remembrance Day.
Ms Clay asked a quite reasonable question: why does a solemn shrine, meant for quiet reflection on the sacrifice and horrors of war, require corporate sponsorship at all, let alone corporate sponsorship from the wholly owned subsidiary of a US private company involved in weapons manufacture and export, particularly at a time when the