The Seven Billion Dollar Question

Imagine a question that attached a price tag of $7 billion of taxpayers’ money to the answer. Now suppose that the question itself was being hidden by the Government in an attempt to avoid scrutiny and public debate.

Most Australians would be appalled at such a circumstance, yet that is precisely what is happening in Australia.

The question I am referring to is the Australian Government’s commitment to reaching an agreement on a treaty at the Copenhagen climate change conference.

Unfortunately for us, the treaty includes a requirement for industrialised nations to commit 0.7 per cent of their national economic output to a United Nations-controlled fund to compensate those in less-developed nations.

With our trillion dollar economy, that means that we will be paying $7 billion every year to an unelected organisation that will redistribute the funds to those it deems ‘worthy’.

These ‘worthy’ nations include those in Africa who will be compensated for the impact of the western world’s carbon dioxide emissions on their nations.

As an interesting aside, the trustees of a multi-million dollar prize given for ‘good governance’ in Africa found no suitable recipient this year.

This raises the question of how effective the application and administration of our $7 billion annual contribution will be.

Some will argue that this money represents an extension of our foreign aid policy – a policy that has recently been increased and expanded by the Rudd Government.

At the time the increase was announced, it struck me as strange that we were using borrowed money, used to fund the Rudd Government’s unwise spending spree, to send to other countries.

Given that a large part of those borrowings came from China you can imagine my surprise that we were sending some of it back to China as foreign aid!

A cynic might ask “why not cut out the middle man and simply send the interest payments to China and allow them to keep a portion of the money they were lending us?”

This Government has already been running up big debts that future generations will be working to pay off. The Copenhagen treaty represents an extension of the financial burden we will be placing on our children.

The suggestion that this decision is being taken without reference to the Parliament and without the illuminating scrutiny of public debate should concern us all.

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