Julia Gillard is copping plenty of flak over her flood levy aimed at raising $1.8 billion for flood relief.
Not surprisingly the Opposition is dead against the move but there’s a groundswell within the Labor Party and the electorate that the levy is not the way to go.
Adding another year before our budget comes back into surplus seems to be a relatively painless way of doing it but that’s been dismissed by Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan.
That stance can only be political, fear of Opposition claims that the Government couldn’t hold true to its promise of returning to surplus.
However, in light of the extraordinary and unforeseen disaster it’s hard to see Tony Abbott getting much support in attacking the government on those grounds.
Another way of cashing up for the flood crisis is holding back some of our International Aid.
In 2010-2011 the Australian Government is spending almost $4.4 billion on overseas development assistance.
The top eight countries for Australia Government aid in 2010-2011 in millions of dollars:
Indonesia $458.7 Papua New Guinea $457.2 Solomon Islands $225.7 Afghanistan $123.1 Vietnam $119.8 Philippines $118.1 East Timor $102.7 Cambodia $64.2
How about we say to these countries “look we have a crisis on our hands, what say for one year only we cut your aid by 30-40%.”
Putting it at a grass-roots level. A family gives $2,000 to charity every year but out of the blue the breadwinner loses his job. Should he sell the family car in order to keep up the charity payment? I think not.
The old idiom charity begins at home is most appropriate. Your family and your country deserve your support before others.
All things being equal, after twelve months our generous foreign aid will then return to established levels.
That money redirected to Australians in need removes the burden on taxpayers who will be feeling the flow on effect of the flood crisis for a long time with increased food, fuel and building costs.
Australia will be helping the economies of many of the countries we support by giving thousands of their trades people jobs to help in the massive re-building program.
The quicker Australia can recover from the crisis the quicker our economy will grow leaving more money for overseas aid.
In the longer term, everyone’s a winner.
Problem is all our politicians are looking towards the next election not what’s best for Australia.