10 Sep 2013

Senator says Australia should cut wasted aid, not Pacific funds

8:13 pm on 10 September 2013

An Australian senator says proposed cuts to foreign aid should focus on where it has been wasted, not in the Pacific where it is desperately needed.

Before it won last Saturday's federal election in Australia, the coalition announced it would save $4.2 billion US dollars in future foreign aid spending.

The Democratic Labor Party leader John Madigan, who featured on tv advertisements in the election campaign urging the government to "spend it wisely or spend it at home", says Indonesia has no need for the huge level of aid provided by Australia.

He says other Pacific countries, particularly those who helped Australia in the past, need to be the beneficiaries of aid.

John Madigan says when he visited East Timor this year he felt ashamed to be Australian.

"They put their lives on the line for us and our soldiers said we will never forget this. But our Government has. And some tacit recognition in any war memorial.. if those diggers were alive today how would they feel about what's happened to these people, how we're treating them."

Australian senator John Madigan.