Julie Bishop, deputy leader of Australia’s conservative opposition, has the following to say about Australia and international aid:
Australians are also generous supporters of developing nations, both personally and as taxpayers through our foreign aid program.
Generous? A look at 2008 OECD stats (the most recent I can get my hands – Table 12 of this Excel file) reveals that Australians give 32 cents out of every $100 dollars their country ‘earns’ as official development assistance. They give an extra 7 cents privately. There are plenty of legitimate debates about aid (and by the standards of last week Ms Bishop’s actual column isn’t too bad) but let’s be clear about one thing 39 cents out of every 100 dollars is not generous.
This isn’t a parochial post – at 34 cents for every hundred dollars New Zealand actually does worse.