International Aid & Development
Lee is the Australian Greens spokesperson on international aid and development and has a long-standing interest in this area. Prior to working with the Greens, Lee co-founded and spent five years as the Director of AID/WATCH, dedicated to monitoring the social and environmental impact of Australia's overseas aid program.
In 2012 Labor and the Coalition walked away from a bipartisan commitment to increase overseas aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015. Australia is playing the bad neighbour in a region with some of the highest rates of poverty and child malnutrition in the world.
The Greens believe that Australia, as a wealthy nation, has a responsibility to contribute our ‘fair share’ to poverty alleviation in less developed countries and devote 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income to overseas aid by 2015.
But there is much more to it than increasing the dollar amount spent on aid.
Lee is campaigning to ensure that Australia’s spending on aid is transparent and accountable and that projects are not harmful for local communities or the environment. The key purpose driving the Australian aid program should be alleviating poverty, not promoting our national political and commercial interests.
In 2012 Lee secured support for a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s aid program in Afghanistan. You can read more it here.
As part of this she uncovered the Defence Department wrongly categorised almost $190 million in military spending as foreign aid.
Lee is currently working on:
- Social justice and environmental problems with the construction the Xayaburi dam across the Mekong River
- Labor government's support for a destructive gas project in PNG
- Scrutinising mining and development aid funding
- Threats to Australian funded aid projects in the Middle East
- Increased funding for sexual and reproductive health services in South East Asia
18 Nov 2010
The Senate has formally recognised tomorrow, 19 November as World Toilet Day, helping to raise awareness of the fact that 2.6 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation.
18 Nov 2010
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (9.54 am)—I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 102 standing in my name for today relating to international aid assistance for clean water and sanitation.I move the motion as amended: That the Senate:
(a) recognises that 19 November 2010, is World Toilet Day – a day to acknowledge the importance of sanitation and raise awareness of the 2.6 billion people, two-fifths of humanity, who lack access to basic sanitation,
19 Nov 2009
The Australian Greens say World Toilet Day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of world-wide sanitation.
"It is shocking that 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation. This risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, most of which are children, every year," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.
"Today is World Toilet Day, which some think is funny, but the number of deaths and suffering as a result of poor sanitation is a sobering reminder that more is needed to reduce suffering around the world."
18 Nov 2009
- That the Senate notes:
- Thursday 19th November 2009 is World Toilet Day - a day to celebrate the importance of sanitation and raise awareness for the world's population who don't have access to toilets and proper sanitation;
- 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people (mostly children) a year;
- lack of proper sanitation is the world's biggest cause of malnutrition and infection, causing diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and worm infections that kill 5,000 children each day;
- clean toilets contribute to poverty eradication by protection one's health and ability to work;
- safe collection and treatment of human waste and other various wastewaters protects drinking water sources and eco-systems, creating clean and healthy living environments, particularly in urban areas;
- the Millennium Development Goals (supported by all parties in the Australian Parliament) cannot be reached unless sanitation conditions are rapidly improved;
- the upcoming Global Framework for Action on Water and Sanitation meeting in Washington April 2010 is the opportunity for global support of the sanitation policy leadership of the UK, Dutch and Australian Governments;
- And calls upon the Government to;
- invest via its aid program in programs and projects aimed at improving sanitation levels, increasing the number of public toilets, and improving their cleanliness and accessibility;
- ensure that the Australian Government plays a constructive, proactive role at the Global Framework for Action on Water and Sanitation meeting in Washington April 2010, and;
- report the proportion of development aid spent on sanitation.
25 Aug 2008
The Australian Greens today outlined their vision for Australia in the new century ahead of the opening of the Balance-of-Power Senate.
Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said a record 1.17 million people voted Greens at the last election, and the five Greens Senators were ready to work constructively with all parties to respond to the challenges of the new century.
"Pollution, poverty, discrimination and the destruction of Australia's forests and precious environments are the legacy of the last century and decades of greed and inaction."
"The Greens' role, beginning with this new Parliament, is to begin delivering an Australia that was cleaner, fairer and saner."
In the new Senate, the Rudd government will need seven extra votes from either the Greens, the two independent Senators, or the Coalition, for legislation to pass.
Senator Brown said the immediate priority for the Greens was to put discussion of human values that respected the environment at the centre of Australian politics - especially policies that would deliver immediate planet-saving action on reversing climate change and protecting forests, and those which created a more caring, giving, peaceful and dignified Australian society.
"The Greens are about re-creating Australia for the new century, street by street, community by community, city by city."
Overview of Greens' policy Agenda for New Senate
A sustainable Australian economy, based on building zero-emissions infrastructure - The Greens will continue to champion a meaningful Emissions Trading Scheme, as one tool of many, for tackling Climate Change.
Save the Coorong Senate Inquiry - Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and the Greens will move for an immediate Senate inquiry to save the Coorong and lower Murray River, as part of action for a thorough legislative overhaul of the governance and management of the entire Murray-Darling system.
Protecting native forests by ending wood-chipping of old-growth forests - this measure alone could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by more than ten per cent, according to Australian Greenhouse Office data.
Senator Christine Milne's New renewable energy gross Feed-in laws - Householders, farmers and industry will be encouraged to convert to renewable energy and also make money from the energy they sell to the electricity grid. Thousands of jobs can be created by rolling out roof-top solar panels, solar thermal power stations, wind turbines as well as other measures.
Senator Rachel Siewert's amendment to restore the Racial Discrimination Act - removing the exemption the Howard Government gave itself when it intervened in the Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.
Promote a discrimination-free Australian society, including removal of discrimination on the basis of sexuality from all statutes, including the Australian Marriage Act.
Increase the quality of life for Australia's 1.2m. pensioners by immediately increasing pensions by at least $30 per week.
Fair parental leave - promote a more family-friendly Australia by encouraging the adoption of a minimum 16 months' maternity and paternity leave.
No radioactive dump in remote Aboriginal communities - Senator Scott Ludlam and the Greens will help Labor keep its election promise of repealing the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005.
More overseas aid to alleviate poverty and injustice - the Greens will argue for a significant increase in Australia's overseas aid, above the current 0.32% of GDP (2008/09 Budget).
Dignified life and death - Senator Bob Brown's Death with Dignity legislation will return the right of the elected territory assemblies in Darwin and Canberra to legislate for death with dignity for those suffering from terminal illness.
Global political, religious and human rights guaranteed - The Greens will argue at every turn for a stronger international stance by Australia to promote improvements in human rights, including support for the democracy movement in China.
Clear food labelling - The Greens will campaign for excellence in food labelling. The current laws allow confusing and too often misleading labelling. Food sold in Australia should be clearly labelled for its country of origin, its genetically modified status, its nano-particle content and its allergen content.
Sustainable communities - Shifting a portion of infrastructure funding to support sustainable communities including fast, efficient mass transit and affordable housing.
Addressing unfinished business for Indigenous Australians - Amending and re-introducing the Australian Democrat's Stolen Generation Compensation Bill.
Re-introduce fairness into Australia's building sites - introducing a Bill to
Abolish the Australia Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and repeal the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act
For more information: Russell Kelly 0438376082