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Budget surplus punishes people on less than $2 per day

We all know it is good financial management to reduce debt and generate a surplus. The end is meant to justify the means.

But does it?

1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty around the world, and another 1.1 billion live just above the poverty line on no more than $2 a day (The Age, Wednesday 5 May).

Mr Swan is quoted as saying “Australians find it unacceptable that people across the globe still live without sufficient income to lead a decent life, or to buy basic medicines or send their children to school”.

In the face of this “unacceptable” situation, Mr Swan has announced an almost $3 billion decrease between now and 2015 in overseas aid. He has also reneged on a promise to increase overseas aid as a percentage of gross national income to 5% (still well below the UN target of 7% to which Australia has agreed).

The political commitment to achieve a surplus (which is meant to benefit Australians) comes at the cost of thousands of people living on less than $2 a day – a situation Australians find unacceptable.

So the logic is that to ensure we have more money in the ’Australian’ bank, we take money away from those living in a situation of unacceptable and unbearable poverty. So Australians benefit by implementing an initiative which is unacceptable to Australians.

You’ve lost us here Mr Swan.

You’ve also lost the thousands of people overseas that your cuts will effect. Literally. These cuts will mean the end of their futures.

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