The Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees (CPA) has been praised for upholding ‘international solidarity’ and responding to what was the burgeoning refugee crisis of 1989. It has also been criticised for its execution, with critics arguing that it is an example of international buck-passing and questionable compromises. Regardless, the CPA has since affirmed itself as a practical model that allowed policy makers to combine humanitarian principles of compassion with political pragmatism.
On September 18 Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the government’s decision to effectively abolish AusAID by integrating it into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). He cited ‘confused responsibilities, duplication and waste’ as reasons for the merger, and suggested that now the ‘aid and diplomatic arms of Australia’s international policy agenda are to be more closely aligned’. The decision elicited a concerned response from NGOs and others involved in the aid sector, who defend the existence of AusAID on the grounds that foreign policy and development issues are not the same thing, and should not be treated as such.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s searing attack on opposition leader Tony Abbott has gone viral attracting over 300,000 hits on ABC News and YouTube, generating countless memes, and gaining media coverage in the United States, Britain, India and many other countries. If you haven’t yet seen the clip I suggest you check it out below.
Commentators were quick to point out the hypocrisy of Gillard’s speech in light of Peter Slipper’s text messages and the Labor Party’s ongoing support for the disgraced former Speaker.
Minister for Finance, Penny Wong has released an eight page booklet outlining the ALP’s costings of the opposition’s policy pledges entitled Pre-Budget Deficit: Tony Abbott and the Coalition. Of course, the public doesn’t expect all such pledges to be implemented, but if they were, Labor predicts that the Coalition would put the budget $9 million into deficit, in 2012-13. The figure does not include savings the Coalition has promised to find: it is to be noted that the Coalition has failed to point out where these savings were to be made.