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representatives vote 2020-02-24#2

Edited by mackay

on 2020-03-06 13:19:50


  • Bills — Official Development Assistance Multilateral Replenishment Obligations (Special Appropriation) Bill 2019; Second Reading
  • Official Development Assistance Multilateral Replenishment Obligations (Special Appropriation) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Official Development Assistance


  • <p class="speaker">Tanya Plibersek</p>
  • <p>I was saying before I had to pause my remarks that we have, through global co-operation, solved a number of really significant international problems. We've solved great problems in the past by, for example, adopting the Millennium Development Goals and seeing the decline in extreme poverty. Sadly, the rate of decline of extreme poverty has slowed just recently. Progress in this area has slowed just recently, but we've had other great achievements. For example, we've lifted primary school enrolment rates in developing regions from 83 per cent to over 90 per cent. And we actually fixed the hole in the ozone layer.</p>
  • <p>Perhaps it's only people my age who remember the fact that we were worried many years ago about the hole in the ozone layer. Because countries got together and worked co-operatively, we were able to reverse this worrying trend. Under the Hawke Government in 1987, Australia was one of the first countries to ratify the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. We avoided the worst aspects of the global financial crisis because countries launched stimulus at the same time. The global financial crisis was very serious; they were the worst economic circumstances sense the Great Depression but could have been worse if we'd not taken this action together globally.</p>
  • The majority voted against an amendment to the usual second reading motion, which means it failed. The usual second reading motion is "that the bill be read for a second time", which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill. The amendment was introduced by Shortland MP [Pat Conroy]( (Labor).
  • ### Amendment text
  • > *That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:*
  • >
  • > *'whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:*
  • >
  • > *(1) notes that Australia's Official Development Assistance (ODA) investments are an important way of advancing Australia's interests, projecting our values and tackling global poverty;*
  • >
  • > *(2) expresses concern that since 2014 Coalition Governments have cut $11.8 billion from the foreign aid budget with the result that Australia's ODA investments are now at a record low as a share of Gross National Income;*
  • >
  • > *(3) agrees that active and engaged participation in multilateral institutions, including multilateral development institutions, is essential for advancing Australia's interests in a stable, secure and prosperous international environment; and*
  • >
  • > *(4) expresses concern that the Prime Minister's recent public attacks on global institutions are contrary to Australia's interests in an international rules-based order supported by multilateral institutions which promote economic growth, global security and human development'*
  • <p>We got rid of small pox&#8212;what an amazing achievement. It was one of the most infectious diseases ever to have been eradicated, a disease with a 30 per cent mortality rate. We saw a coordinated global effort that eliminated small pox. This effort has been credited with saving as many as 200 million lives between 1980 and 2018, and, of course, it gets an honourable mention in the Ian Dury song, 'Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3'&#8212;a terrific song, Mr Acting Deputy Speaker; if you haven't heard it, I'm sure you'd enjoy it.</p>
  • <p>We've done a very substantial job on reducing HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. This year, we have seen data here in Australia, and we've reached our lowest number of HIV diagnoses in nearly two decades. But importantly, around the world, global deaths from AIDS have halved over the past decade. It shows the sort of return on investment we get from investing in these global funds.</p>
  • <p>We've seen the terrific success of things like the invention of Gardasil, a discovery here in Australia. To date more than 200 million doses have been distributed in 130 countries. This cervical cancer vaccine protects against about 70 per cent of cervical cancers, saving lives globally. Australia is playing such an important role there. In Ebola in August 2014, we went from seeing the risk of a global epidemic&#8212;an international health emergency which killed 11,325 people and infected nearly 30,000 others&#8212;to seeing very quickly that the global effort meant we developed a vaccine that is about 90 per cent effective.</p>
  • <p>We now have coronavirus, of course&#8212;COVID-19&#8212;and Australia, again, has contributed to this global effort. Australian researchers have been able to sequence the genome of the virus, growing it from real patients as opposed to growing it synthetically. This will mean that Australia has played a key role in the race to develop an effective treatment and vaccine.</p>
  • <p>Since the advent of the current international order, global conflicts have also decreased substantially. That's a great effort in health, but look at the story when it comes to conflict. After the Second World War, there were nearly 250 battle deaths per million people. We've got down now, thankfully, to about 10 per million. These are significant achievements. If you look at international coordination on nuclear non-proliferation, we've got from a high of 70,300 active weapons in 1986 to approximately 3,750 active nuclear warheads left in the world in 2019. I think that's 3,750 too many nuclear weapons in the world, but when you look at the fantastic work of ICAN and others&#8212;ICAN, of course, won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize&#8212;you see what is possible when we cooperate.</p>
  • <p>Sadly, of course, the United States has withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and I'd have to say that is a real step backwards in this area. If we look at cluster munitions, Australia signed and ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions when we were last in office, under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, prohibiting the use, transfer and stockpile of cluster bombs. For the first time since 2015, the report last year was that there was no new use of cluster bombs in Yemen and a significant decrease in the Syrian conflict.</p>
  • <p>Chemical weapons have been banned since 1997, but sadly we have tragically seen some governments&#8212;the Syrian government, for example&#8212;use these against their own people. If not for the ban, how much more widespread would the use of chemical weapons and cluster munitions be?</p>
  • <p>These achievements have only happened because of international cooperation&#8212;small countries like us, small in population, working together with the big nations in a way that has changed our world and has made it safer and stronger, and it is firmly in the tradition of Australian foreign policy to do this. The Liberals, of course, criticised our bid for the UN Human Rights Council, but the then foreign minister was able to use our position on the UN Human Rights Council, when we won it, to stand up for the interests of Australia after MH17 was shot down.</p>
  • <p>We have to participate in these global challenges. When it comes to aid, this, of course, is one of the most important ways we can do it. Our aid budget makes our world safer and more prosperous, and, when our world is safer and more prosperous, Australia is safer and more prosperous. We still have 736 million people living on less than $1.90 a day, 47.2 million of whom are on our doorstep in the Indo-Pacific region. You don't win the battle against global poverty by retreating, by turning your backs on the international community. We need to continue to play a strong role globally on all of these issues&#8212;on health, aid, peace and disarmament, economic growth and prosperity, and, of course, climate change. That's because our neighbours' successes are our successes.</p>
  • <p>Economic modelling from the Australian National University has found that every additional dollar spent on Australian foreign aid in Asia has resulted in $7.10 in Australian exports. The results speak for themselves. Between 2013 and 2018 our total aid to Indonesia nearly halved to less than $300 million, and our two-way trade with Indonesia has grown to nearly $17 billion, making Indonesia our 13th largest trading partner. We hope to build on that success because, as countries in our region leave poverty behind, they become trading partners for us. As they improve their health systems, our own health is protected. If we've got outbreaks of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria on our doorstep, then of course the risk to Australia is greater.</p>
  • <p>Our participation in aid, our strong backing for official development assistance, has always been because we morally believe that it's the right thing to do. But in purely practical terms: when our neighbours succeed, when our planet is more peaceful and more prosperous, then Australia can look forward to more peace and prosperity for our own citizens.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>