Funding for foreign aid is an issue coming up for debate in more countries than the United States. UNICEF has begun a campaign in Australia to increase foreign aid spending. During the North Sydney electorate, the organization is urgently spreading awareness for the cause and raising public support.
Australia currently spends .35 percent of its gross national income (GNI) on foreign aid. To put that in perspective, the US donates about .2 percent and Sweden gives 1.02 percent of its GNI. UNICEF hopes to increase this percentage by going door-to-door and asking Australians to sign a petition in support of more foreign aid funding. They will deliver these petitions to election candidates.
Their campaign does not, however, exist without resistance. Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader, warned that his party would support funding for projects in Northern Territory rather than increasing foreign aid if his party did not win the majority in the federal election. Another party, the Labor Government, expressed their intentions to supersede some funding for foreign assistance programs in favor of providing financial support for “offshore processing of asylum seekers.”
Despite this opposition, volunteers for UNICEF remain enthusiastic about public support for increased foreign aid. Tess van der Rijt, a campaigner during the North Sydney electorate, was encouraged that so many people whose homes she visited were passionate about the effectiveness and necessity of foreign aid and did not want to see the program lose funding. With a lot of hard work, UNICEF may be successful in pressuring politicians to adhere to the demands of the public and increase foreign aid.
– Mary Penn
Source: Herald Sun