Public letter

In the lead up to the 2018 ALP National Conference, a series of Labor icons have supported the call to rebuild Australian aid.

Check out the coverage in the Guardian, see the letter here or read the full text below.




We live in a political moment defined by extreme inequality, conflicts which force millions of people to seek refuge, and the increasing impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

Labor has always proudly stood up for an internationalist perspective in Australian foreign policy. We have championed the rights of people, built multi-lateral institutions, delivered growth through trade, and supported aid to drive development around the world.

The current Liberal-National Government has cut $11.3 billion from the Australian Aid program, and diverted needed funding away from humanitarian assistance and projects that lead to national development in our region and beyond. Australian aid is now at its lowest levels ever, with less than 1% of the federal budget dedicated to international development.

A future Labor Government must take decisive action to rebuild the Australian aid program and ensure that Australia meets its international obligations. We need an aid program that:

  • Restores credibility to Australia’s international standing, which has been depleted by cuts to Australian aid;
  • Addresses inequality in our region and in the poorest nations of the world;
  • Secures rights for the most marginalised people, including their right to organise and fairness at work; and
  • Increases our funding for aid over time with a clear roadmap to meeting our commitments to fund the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Labor movement has always had a different idea of Australia as an international citizen, grounded in optimism that people working together can create a fairer world.

It’s the worldview that ensured we took a principled stand against apartheid, increased labour rights around the world, secured independence for Papua New Guinea, and increased our aid program when we were last in government.

We believe these same ideals need to be rekindled ahead of what we all hope will be the election of a Federal Labor Government.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. Gareth Evans, fmr Foreign Minister

The Hon. Bob Carr, fmr Foreign Minister

The Hon. John Kerin, fmr Minister for Trade and Overseas Development

The Hon. Melissa Parke, fmr Minister for International Development

The Hon. Bob McMullan, fmr Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance

Sharan Burrow, fmr President Australian Council of Trade Unions