Wednesday, 2 February 2005
Tsunami Disaster: Statements.
John Dardis (Progressive Democrats)
Some of the calls that were made to have a widespread Army presence in the region were dubious as I really do not know what the Army personnel could have done. We are dealing with sovereign states and unless people are invited thereto and asked for specifically, it is better not to get involved. One should just send the type of expertise that is required.
I support Senator Mansergh in his remarks on aid for the Tamil people. It is very important that they are not left out during the distribution of aid in Sri Lanka. I very much share Senator Norris's view that it is critical we retain our objective of donating 0.7% of our GDP in overseas development aid and that we achieve the millennium goals set out by the United Nations. I accept the fact that because the economy has grown so rapidly, it has been difficult to achieve our objective regarding overseas development aid. In absolute terms, there has been a very significant increase in the money devoted to overseas development aid. The objective is important nevertheless and must be achieved. The Minister of State is committed to doing so and I commend him and encourage him in that regard. I thank him for his contribution to this debate on aid for the regions affected by the tsunami.