An interesting aspect of the Coalition’s suggestion that the ALP had committed to restoring $19 billion to the Australian Aid budget is that pro-Aid campaigners themselves had previously only mentioned $11 billion of cuts. That is, they intentionally inflate the level of cuts to more powerfully demonstrate their commitment to balancing the budget on the backs of the world’s poor. While politicians and Australia’s humanitarians war over the dollar figures in the forward estimates there’s another battle that’s less about our national budget and more about our national character – a war on generosity.
The commentary has covered the state of our material generosity – we’re now at the lowest levels of Australian Aid at any time in our history – but the fact that this is a point of pride for our Government, something they’d intentionally exaggerate to make a political point, says even more about our spiritual generosity. We are not only being financially mean, we are mean-spirited.