Aid argument not 'anti-Catholic'

I refer to Jack de Groot's article of 14 October, 2010, published in Eureka Street, which criticises my article on foreign aid, of 30 September 2010 in The Australian.

I appreciate the welfare and development work that Caritas and many other non-government organisations carry out in underdeveloped countries.

My article is not, as Jack implies, anti-overseas aid. Indeed, in the article, I rejected attempts by some populist elected officials seeking to make political capital out of appeals to selfishness.

As my article clearly stated, to those who read it correctly, however, I am in favour of close scrutiny of the Australian foreign aid budget, so that the Australian taxpayer obtains best value for their money spent on aid, and recipients receive the support they need in ways that best assists them for the future.

Unfortunately, there is not and never will be aid enough for all. Also, unfortunately, some aid will be misspent, and some will be spent on projects that do no good.

My article is not against the 'ethical and values-based mission of the Catholic Church'. Rather it is pointing out how unethical it is to waste precious donor dollars on the wrong aid. There is also nothing ethical about spending taxpayers' dollars in Africa to buy Australia a place on the UN Security Council.

I would encourage your readers to read my article in full. I believe most will support the need to direct our aid in ways that maximise benefits to those most in need.

Dr Gary Johns is Associate Professor at the Public Policy Institute, Australian Catholic University.

Topic tags: Gary Johns, Jack de Groot, caritas, aid, un security council



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