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Current Queensland Synod moderator, Rev David Baker.
Queensland Synod moderator, Rev David Baker. Photo: Supplied

Moderator’s Musing – 17 April 2018

The rumours are about that the Federal Government is again looking at cutting foreign aid in the forthcoming budget.

Australia made deep cuts—about 20 per cent—to foreign aid in 2012/13. Our level of foreign aid is currently at 0.22 per cent of gross national income. Hardly a tithe! I guess it is seen by politicians as an easy cut because the beneficiaries don’t vote in Australian elections.

Yet it seems such a short-sighted move. In a world where competing interests are growing more competitive, where the rules-based structures of international relations are under significant challenge, to reduce spending—simply on the basis of self-interest—looks self-defeating.

Then there’s the more fundamental issues for those of us of Christian faith.

The call to recognise the other as brother or sister.

The call to heed the parable of the Good Samaritan.

This is the work that UnitingWorld, the Uniting Church in Australia’s international agency, is doing on our behalf. It is delivering programs that improve the lives of families, of women, and of children in the developing world; mostly in the Pacific. On our behalf, they are growing new leaders of communities and building infrastructure that supports the health of communities.

The critical philosophical base of UnitingWorld is that it builds partners, not dependency. Its work is about solidarity, not charity.

It is work that our congregations support, but it is also work that the Federal Government supports. It is work that is at risk; directly affecting the lives of many, many people.

I’d encourage you to drop a line to your federal member to express your mind about your desire to see Australia as a good neighbour in our region.

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