For release: Thursday May 1, 2014

The Australian Christian Lobby is concerned that today’s Commission of Audit report paved the way for a broken election promise on overseas aid.

Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the Coalition made an election promise to boost aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income once the budget position improved.

“The Commission of Audit’s recommendation to drop the election promise by de-coupling aid funding from GNI should be rejected,” Mr Shelton said.

“Great Britain, whose budget position is far worse than Australia’s, has already achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of 0.7 per cent,” Mr Shelton said.

“It is disappointing enough that both sides of Australian politics walked away from Australia’s 0.7 per cent MDG promise as part of a push to halve world poverty by 2015.

“A recommendation to now walk away from the election promise to at least reach 0.5pc should be rejected.”

Mr Shelton said ACL was grateful for the Coalition’s response to its traditional pre-election questionnaire and had distributed it electronically to tens of thousands of Christian voters.

“This will be a disappointment to a great many Christians who have been coming to Canberra for years lobbying Australian politicians to keep the nation’s promise to the world’s poor.

“While having a fiscally responsible budget is important, Australia is a very wealthy country compared to most in the world and we should be generous to those suffering extreme poverty.”

Mr Shelton said he hoped any proposal to cap aid would be a temporary measure.