Young Australians campaign for extra foreign aids

13:45, May 13, 2010      

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More than 1,000 young Australian held up giant letters spelling out "make poverty history" on Thursday as part of a campaign to convince Australia to give more aid to the world's most destitute people.

Participants packed outside the corridors of Parliament House came from every electorate across the country.

Tuesday's budget lifted foreign aid by 500 million Australian dollars (449 million U.S. dollars) to 4.3 billion dollars (3.86 billion U.S. dollars) a year, which equates to 33 cents (29.7 U.S. cents) in every 100 dollars (89.86 U.S. dollars) in national income.

Protest organizer Nick Allardice wanted that rate lifted to 70 cents (62.9 U.S. cents).

"It's a moral calling, and we think Australians are incredibly generous," Addardice told Australian Associated Press as protesters chanted behind him.

Allardice, from the Oaktree Foundation, was upbeat about the good foreign aid could achieve, saying it helped lift 500 million people out of extreme poverty in his lifetime.

One of the protesters Jack Greig said he could not turn his back on people living in destitution.

"Lots of people (in Griffith) do care deeply about poverty ... they have an emotional connection to ending poverty," Greig said.

Before the election, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised to lift aid spending to 50 cents (44.95 U.S. cents) out of every 100 dollars (89.86 U.S. dollars) in national income, by 2015.

The budget has showed the proportion of aid has gone from 32 cents (28.8 U.S. cents) in every 100 dollars (89.86 U.S. dollars) to 33 cents (29.67 U.S. cents) in the past two years.

The government said that will increase to 42 cents (37.8 U.S. cents) in 2013.



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