Turning off young voters

oaktree1Coalition broken aid promise further disillusions youth vote.

Just twenty-four hours before polls open, thousands of young voters have met the Coalition’s broken promise on foreign aid with outcry.

The Coalition announced yesterday that $4.5 billion in foreign aid increases would be cut should they form government.

Viv Benjamin, CEO of the Oaktree Foundation, stated the slashed funds could have saved the lives of 450,000 people living in extreme poverty around the world. [1]

‘The impact of Abbott’s aid cuts, revealed at the eleventh hour, must be made known so voters can make an informed vote on Saturday’ Ms Benjamin said.

‘This issue goes beyond party politics; extreme poverty is a matter of life and death.’

In 2010, the Coalition pledged to give just 0.5% GNI to fight global poverty by 2015. Yesterday’s move sees the Coalition breaking their promise to the world’s poorest.

Youth Representative to the United Nations, Adam Pulford, says that Australia’s foreign aid commitments are one of the most important issues to young people.

‘The vast majority of young Australians I have heard from this year have said they believe Australia should do more to end global poverty’ Mr Pulford said.

‘It is an issue that many have said will affect their vote this Saturday.’

Research shows that this election, like the past four Federal elections, is likely to be decided by the youth vote. [2] Young people aged 18-24 make up 12% of the total electorate. With 1.6 million young Australians enrolled to vote this Saturday, they are a powerful force in Australian politics.

Over 74% of young people want Australia to increase aid to fight global poverty. [3]

Ms Benjamin calls on all politicians and candidates to maintain Australia’s commitment to the world’s poorest people.

‘Australian aid saves lives. After 21 years of uninterrupted economic growth, both major parties can and must keep their long-standing promise to increase aid to fight global poverty’ Ms Benjamin said.

The Oaktree Foundation is Australia’s largest youth-led anti-poverty organisation with over 150,000 members. For further information on Oaktree visit www.theoaktree.org

1] According to Micah Challenge, 5 September 2013
2] www.whitlam.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/82994/youngpeople_imaginingdemocracy_literature_review.pdf
3] www.unicef.org.au/Media/Media-Releases/May-2012/Young-Australians-say-a-resounding-%E2%80%98YES%E2%80%99-to-more-a.aspx

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