Can’t remember the last time I saw the Clock Tower dial at Sydney University showing a pre-10am reading, but when faced with a chance to meet K-Rudd and other Sydney-based supporters of the recent aid budget increase at my very own uni, I couldn’t say no! The Ruddster is making a few appearances around the country to speak to and meet with community groups and individuals who’ve been noisily keeping aid and development on the Federal agenda, acknowledging our work and discussing the commitment to 0.5% of GNI by 2015.
So a few of us from Oxfam Sydney University rugged up to hear what he had to say. Proceedings kicked off with an intro from Jack de Groot, CEO of Caritas (a Catholic agency for overseas aid and development), who discussed how our increasing aid commitment represents an important moment in Australian history and will “give voice to the voiceless”. Rudd spoke for about 20 minutes, thanking attendees and the organisations they represented (including Oxfam, who got a special mention! Wooh!) for leading the movement and keeping pollies honest and active on aid. He said that back in 2004 when the Make Poverty History movement was coming together, he was doubtful that we could ever generate bipartisan support or community consensus for a commitment to 0.5% by 2015 – but that now, even the most adamant shock jocks and politicians are coming around. This shows how more Australians are recognising that a solid aid commitment is part of being a good international citizen, and making a difference in other peoples’ lives.
On this point, Rudd also asserted that more, better aid is not only in line with worldwide human values, but quintessential Australian values too. He pointed out that, thankfully, people are now realising that the ‘charity begins at home/charity abroad’ dichotomy is an “ancient paradigm”. He encouraged us all to consider spending time on projects overseas, and suggested checking out the new Australian Civilian Corps initiative which has been further enhanced in the most recent budget
Rudd wrapped up his speech with a discussion of Australia’s growing international reputation as “part of the solution” around development and aid. He highlighted that our aid commitment has increased significantly since he was elected as PM, and that we haven’t seen similar levels for the last 25 years. However, he also acknowledged that we still have a way to go, as Australia remains in the bottom half of all OECD countries in regard to government aid.
Finally, the Ruddster thanked us all for being “such collective pains in the arse”, and encouraged everyone to keep it up and keep spreading the word – apparently, if we don’t keep the pollies honest, no one will!
After his speech, we nabbed Kevin for a photo and to ask him 3things you can doing to help change the world. After thinking for a bit, he decided on his 3things – and they’re right in line with our Couch workshops
- The first thing is to decide on your core values – work out what you believe in, and what you’re passionate about. This might take a while and happens while you’re at school and uni
- The next thing is to recognise your skills and strengths, and where these intersect with your passions. This is how you work out what you can actually do!
- Finally, it’s important to spread the seed and encourage others to act and be part of the movement as well.
So, in other words – Think. Do. Spread!
So what about you, what are 3things you can do to help change the world? Check out what others are doing, and add yours to the mix at 3things.org.au