More charity at home, less in Parliament House
While Australians are increasing their personal donations, as a country they’ve been giving less and less to foreign aid.
Is this suggesting a misalignment of sentiments between the community and its leadership? Is there a growing desire to support those closest to us, donating to support local causes, while diminishing our desire to help those abroad?
The period graphed included 9.2 different Prime Ministers so it’s hard to pin point the blame the Australian Government’s diminishing willingness to fund foreign aid. And while the coloured timeline suggests that upon winning office Labour increases and Liberal decreases Australia’s Official Development Assistance, the overall picture is clearly trending south. So much so, that Foreign Aid didn’t even rate a mention during the 2016 election campaign.
Australia’s generosity, as individuals and as a country however, leaves much to be desired. Australians donate around 34 cents for every $100 earned, and the country spends $1.30 in foreign aid for every $100 spent in the federal budget.
But if charity is starting to take off at home, there’s hope it may influence the political agenda.
ODA vs Budget not ODA vs GNI
The graph shows foreign aid expenditure as a percentage of the total federal budget. Most analysis compares foreign aid to Gross National Income (GNI), with governments stating they’re aiming to reach 0.5%. However, as suggested by Angus Barnes the federal budget, which is within the government’s control, is “a more appropriate denominator”.
Either way the line is almost identical, with the only difference being magnitude – 1% of budget is roughly 0.4% of GNI.