From PAUL OATES
'AusAID states the aim of Australia's overseas aid programme 'is to assist developing countries reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, ..'
So what is the report card on AusAid achievements in Papua New Guinea?
The largest group (48%) surveyed said we should be doing more.
The 2010 Lowy Institute Poll reports the results of a nationally representative opinion survey of 1,001 Australian adults conducted in Australia between 6 and 21 March 2010.1 It is the sixth annual Lowy Poll.
The Rudd Government has committed Australia to increasing its foreign aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015-16,7 but what do Australians think about the size of Australia's aid programme and what it should be trying to achieve?
Asked to say whether 'the government is currently giving too much, too little or about the right amount of aid to developing countries' a majority (55%) said 'about the right amount'. Just over one fifth (22%) said it was giving 'too much' and about the same percentage (19%) said 'too little'.
Older Australians (45 years old or older) were three and a half times more likely than younger Australians (18 to 29 years of age) to say the government is currently giving 'too
much' aid (29% compared with 8%). Men were also more likely to say this than women (26% compared with 17%). AusAID states the aim of Australia's overseas aid programme 'is to assist developing countries reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia's national interest.
Presented with 'four possible objectives for Australia's overseas aid programme', the highest level of support (measured by those saying it was 'a top priority') was for 'reducing poverty' (58%) followed by 'improving the quality of government' (53%) and 'promoting economic development' (49%). The least supported option was 'promoting Australian interests' (42%).
Papua New Guinea and aid
Papua New Guinea - a former Australian colony - is one of the largest recipients of Australian aid. But the country continues to suffer from serious development and security problems. Asked whether 'Australia should be doing more, doing less or about the same as it is doing now in Papua New Guinea' almost half (48%) of the adult population said it should be doing 'more' while 42% said 'about the same'.
Just 6% said 'less'.
Lowy polling suggests Australians have a streak of altruism when it comes to foreign policy. This year, for example, Australians placed 'reducing poverty' ahead of 'promoting
Australian interests' as a top priority for Australia's aid programme. But how moral do they think Australian foreign policy is compared to other countries?
Asked if it was 'above average, about average, or below average' a majority (57%) of Australians said it was morally 'about average'. A quarter (24%) said it was 'above average'
and 14% said it was 'below average'. Men were more likely than women to say the morality of Australia's foreign policy was 'above average' (29% compared with 18%).