More Self-loathing Incompetence From SMH

Michael Smith has brought my attention to this article written by SMH’s Latika Bourke on 13 April 2017. Predictably, it’s the usual self-loathing plop that we’ve become accustomed to no longer paying money for:

Australia should follow the British Conservative government’s lead in enshrining its aid budget in legislation to prevent it from being diminished in an appeal for votes, leading campaigners say, with the OECD listing Australia as among the countries recording the biggest declines in aid for the world’s poorest people.

The OECD’s latest rankings show Australia slipping another spot to 17th out of 29 countries – meaning small countries like Switzerland and Luxembourg are contributing a greater portion of their budgets to helping the world’s neediest compared to Australia. 

A country’s aid budget is generally measured as a proportion of a nation’s gross national income (GNI). Under Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s cuts to the budget, Australia’s total contribution fell to just over $3 billion in 2016, or 0.25 per cent of GNI. This was below the average of 0.32 per cent of GNI recorded by the 29 OECD countries last year.

Now, let’s do a quick fact check on Latika’s work. Here’s what Australia spent on foreign affairs and economic aid in 2015-16 (see page 5-13) – about $5.5 billion:

FA 2015-16

Now here’s what is likely to be spent for 2016-17 (see page 6-13) – about $6.7 billion:

FA 2016-17

PS: did you notice how the budget will be completely blown out from $6.1 billion to $6.7 billion?

Now let’s go one level deeper and zero in on foreign aid:

For 2015-16 (see page 5-14):

FA 2015-16

And for 2016-17 (see page 6-14):

FA 2016-17

Again: did you notice how the budget will be blown out from $3.9 billion to $4.3 billion?

Perhaps if Bourke bothered to read the budget papers instead of listening to ‘leading campaigners’, she’d have had the right numbers and could have found something more productive to write about.

That aside, don’t you just love the extreme left? On days such as Anzac Day, they’re telling us that we’re being ‘too nationalistic’; but then – without even a hint of awareness of their pathetic hypocrisy – tell us that ‘small countries’ like Switzerland (that happen to be far more advanced and richer than Australia) are ’embarrassing’ us in the foreign aid to GNI stakes.

In writing her story, I also wonder if Bourke factored in the amount Australia spends under the UNHRC Resettlement Program (of which Australia is one of only 37 ‘taking’ members) in properly resettling refugees:


Hello? Switzerland? Luxembourg? It’s Australia calling from the top 3 here: where the bloody hell are you?

PS: I say ‘properly resettling’ (i.e. spending real money) because the left seems to think that refugees flooding into neighbouring countries to sit in squalid camps somehow counts as ‘resettlement’ – to the point where they appear to think that Turkey is apparently the most generous country on Earth!

Yes, Turkey.

When you add up all the resettlement costs and ongoing welfare payments that Australia provides (see here for example), they would comfortably dwarf the ‘metric’ of choice being used by Bourke and SMH as an excuse to self-hate Australia – which, in any event, amounts to little more than piffle-lite as shown above.

With gormless journalism like this, I’m not surprised that Fairfax print is fast going out of business and that people have little trust in the media.

2 thoughts on “More Self-loathing Incompetence From SMH”

  1. “More Self-loathing Incompetence From SMH”

    They have much to loath.
    Their incompetence is just the start.


  2. Nice work, Marcus.

    If Latika was serious, she would know of the Commitment to Development Index compiled each year by the prestigious if somewhat leftish US think tank, the Centre for Global Development:

    That index attempts to address, roughly, that countries with liberal trade, migration and other policies may do more good for developing countries than others giving lots of ‘aid’ (often thinly disguised assistance to their own industries) but having restrictive trade and other policies. You might enjoy playing around with the very slick website listed above. In short, Australia ranks much higher on the commitment to development index than it does on aid, even after the mandatory flagellation for causing global warming and sinking Bangladesh.

    A further point that I have not had time to dip back into: if my memory serves me well, Australia’s aid, which had long being focussed on our region and the multilateral development banks, went crazy during the Rudd years, and started to be sprayed around Africa as Rudd sought to buy support for a seat for Australia on the security council of the UN. So there was a quantum leap in the quantity of Australian aid, and a quantum fall in its effectiveness. AusAID exploded in size, and aid scandals multiplied.

    Ever since, successive Australian governments have sought to get the aid behemoth back under control, and have wrapped AusAID back into DFAT. But every dollar trimmed out of a bloated aid budget from a ridiculously inflated starting point has been criticised. On any longer term view, Australia is just belatedly returning aid to a more sensible level where waste and corruption are returned to traditional levels.

    Aid industry guys keep parading the aid to GNI ratio like teachers unions refer to Gonski. It is totemic, but irrelevant to the broader policies that facilitate economic development.

    These points are very obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the field. If we had any competent politicians in the Government, they would be giving Latika and her sources such a belting on this stuff that she would think twice before spinning out more of the same.


    Liked by 3 people

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