|Dear Neville —
The Australia Institute is excited to announce we are merging with Jubilee Australia Research Centre.
Jubilee Australia works to raise awareness about harmful government policies and irresponsible behaviour of Australian companies operating overseas, particularly mining companies. Jubilee began as the Australian arm of the world-wide Jubilee movement working for debt cancellation and its research examines practices that violate human rights, environmental and economic well-being in impoverished nations.
And what better way to welcome our new partners than with the launch on a major paper on the issue of Australia’s foreign aid.
The research by The Australia Institute, in collaboration with Jubilee shows that Former Ministers Stephen Smith and Tony Street best foreign aid records over last 40 years. Julie Bishop and Bill Hayden presided over by far the biggest cut to our foreign aid. The report – Charity ends at home: The decline of foreign aid in Australia, paints a stark picture of one of the world’s richest nations becoming far less generous.
Foreign Aid by Foreign Minister
The Australia Institute continues to grow. Jubilee is a little smaller than us and we aim to share our skills and resources to magnify the reach and impact of both our research agendas, here in Australia and overseas. Jubilee’s research into the behaviour of Australian mining companies operating in the Pacific aligns closely with our own work busting the economic myths of the mining industry and we’re excited about the opportunities to collaborate.
Jubilee will soon release a report on the impacts of Australian mining interests on our neighbours, including Bougainville, where a Mining Act is threatening the right to protest with long jail terms. Severe environmental damage from Bougainville’s Panguna mine and a lack of benefits to local people contributed to a decade-long civil war, so getting the Mining Act right is of profound importance. Find out more about Jubilee Australia here.
This merger also builds on our successful merger late last year with Catalyst, which works closely with the trade union movement. Catalyst’s recent report unpicks how the sustainability claims of the banking sector stack up against its recent record of dubious financial advice and disputed credit card fees, as well as the funding of unsustainable activities such as coal mining and infrastructure projects along the Great Barrier Reef.
Seismic shift in politics
This is an important moment for Australia. Tony Abbott’s defeat as PM is a seismic shift. Instead of addressing future economic challenges, Abbott focused on a Queensland coal mine as an economic solution, declared war on the environment movement and ran a divisive budget agenda that failed to address Australia’s revenue challenge.
The Australia Institute was able to play a big role in the debates around Abbott’s budgets, policies and strategy over the last two years. If we weren’t truly independent, we couldn’t take on the issues in this way, and that’s all because of the ongoing support we get from people like you, so thank you. If you can, the best way to support our research is to donate or become a monthly donor.
The new Prime Minister presents a new challenge; to get a fresh hearing for smart, progressive policies which Tony Abbott so actively ignored; from mining subsidies, to super tax concessions, to renewable energy. If Malcolm Turnbull really is interested in ‘substance’ over ‘slogans’, he will find research and evidence and ideas in our work. If he doesn’t, we will call him on it. But we will give the new Prime Minister every opportunity to change direction away from the evidence-free, ideological policies of his predecessor.
Together, we can change minds.
Ben Oquist – Executive Director, & The Australia Institute Team