So what does this budget mean for us?
I’m Shani Cain, Oaktree’s CEO, and I’m coming to you with frustration and disappointment after the 2019 budget was handed down this evening. I felt the need to break down what this means for young people in the world.
Tonight, the 2019 Budget was handed down, and the Coalition government has failed to yet again outline a long-term vision for our world.
With further aid cuts to be made in 2022-23, any commitments this government makes to the betterment of the global community are superficial at best.
Don’t be fooled - tonight, the Australian government has shown no roadmap, no vision, for our futures.
As the Australian aid program becomes more insular and narrow-minded, we are leaving behind some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Currently, 50% of the world’s population is under 30, and 90% of these young people live in the Global South. Young people are disproportionately affected by poverty and have limited access to quality education and social resources.
Young people also face challenges never before experienced in human history. Climate change threatens our quality of life now, and even more so going into the future. Tonight, the Australian government’s superficial action on climate change is appalling. This government does not feel the frustration and fear we as young people feel. They do not feel the urgency we feel to take action now to salvage a better future.
Faced with existential issues never before faced in human history, the Australian government has chosen to once again turn its back on young people and neglect its responsibility to shape a better future.
Australian aid spending continues to be at the one of the lowest levels in history, with only 23 cents per 100 dollars spent on foreign aid, way below the UN’s 70 cents per 100 dollars aid spending target. This puts Australia behind 18 other OECD countries such as New Zealand and the UK in terms of donor generosity.
Considering Australia is the 5th most prosperous country in the world, this is simply not good enough.
Australia is known for our values of friendship and giving everyone a fair go. Our extension of friendship and generosity has reached all corners of the globe, from empowering Bangladeshis through employment opportunities, to promoting the economic resilience of women right on our doorstep in the Pacific.
But how can we continue to adequately navigate some of the world’s most pressing issues with no roadmap?
We as young people understand the urgency that is needed to address the monumental challenges we face today. Here at Oaktree, working with some of the most inspiring, motivated and intelligent young people in the Asia-Pacific has shown us that the global youth is capable of instigating substantive change.
However, in the era of dog-whistle politics, the Australian government has chosen to ignore the potential of young people, new opportunities and new friendships.
Australia’s inadequate commitment to aid is, quite frankly, un-Australian.
Amidst the disappointment and anger we feel right now, that we have felt for the sixth consecutive year, we as young people are left to wonder: where are the leaders of today for our tomorrow?
Existential global challenges require global solidarity. Australia must play an active role in the global community if we want to shape a better today and tomorrow.
Tonight, the Australian government has failed in its responsibility to shape a more equal, just world for current and future generations.
It’s now up to us to make our voices heard and to show our government that Australians do care.
Here at Oaktree, we’ll be fighting tooth and nail to make Australian aid fair, generous and representative.
Tonight, with all of the anger, frustration and sadness we at Oaktree feel, we stand in solidarity with young people across the globe.
Whilst tonight we come with frustration and disappointment, it is with an unyielding belief that young people hold the key to change and to creating a better world for all.
The Australian government has tonight let our young global friends down, but we won’t.
Join our fight for Australia to recommit itself as a global citizen.