For many years, budget night has been a bad night for poor people depending on Australian aid.

The Rudd and Gillard Governments deferred aid spending which effectively morphed into cuts.

When the Abbott Government took power, declaring a budget emergency, aid was immediately cut.

It was low hanging fruit. For no political pain, $3.7 billion was pruned from overseas aid.

Both sides of politics had promised to increase Australian aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015.

This was still short of the Howard Government era promise to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of 0.7pc.

This became too hard for both Labor and the Coalition yet Great Britain, despite worse economic circumstances, achieved 0.7pc.

Australia’s overseas aid now stands at 0.22pc of GNI, the least generous in Australia’s history.

Tonight Scott Morrison, a committed Christian, brings down his first budget for the Commonwealth of Australia.

There is no quarrel with the idea that countries, like families, need to live within their means.

But most of us have mortgages and yet still manage to sponsor a Compassion child and give to our local church’s mission programs helping the poor in developing countries.

Just as we are encouraged to be generous as individuals, so too should our nation.

ACL will use the election campaign period to encourage both sides of politics to begin re-building our aid program.

It speaks well of the church that it is one of the only constituency groups complaining about cuts to aid.

We must keep raising our voices.