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Australians of the Year join the Movement to End Poverty

A group of prominent Australians have added their voice to The Movement to End Poverty and have called on leaders from all sides of politics to support an increase of foreign aid to 50 cents in every $100 of gross national income by 2016 in order to tackle global poverty.

Research biologist Sir Gustav Nossal, psychiatrist and mental health advocate Professor Patrick McGorry, businesswoman Ita Buttrose, and CSIRO Chairman Simon McKeon are among a number of prominent Australians of the Year calling on political leaders to fulfil their promise to the world’s poorest people.

CSIRO Chairman and 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon said that “it is in our best interests to do our fair share to lift the world’s poorest out of abject poverty. Australia will be increasingly vulnerable in a world without hope and reeking of distrust and division.”

Other Australians of the Year who have joined the movement include scientist Professor Tim Flannery, Indigenous leader Professor Michael Dodson, medical research leader Professor Fiona Stanley and cancer scientist Professor Ian Frazer.

The Australians of the Year join over 80,000 Australians who have shown their support for increasing Australia’s aid program by joining the Movement to End Poverty. Together we are calling on all leaders to commit to contributing Australia’s fair share in tackling global poverty.

Australian of the Year 2000, Sir Gustav Nossal, said that “a lifetime spent in the health field has convinced me that extreme poverty and poor health are obligate fellow-travellers. In the health field, foreign aid really works, particularly the precious gift of vaccines. Please support Australia’s aid effort in every way you can!”

Australian of the Year 2010, Professor Patrick McGorry, said that “it is more important than ever in uncertain economic times to redouble our efforts to ‘make poverty history’. One of the greatest sources of poverty is mental ill health so I hope Australia can finally make a serious effort to lift her game in providing decent mental health care to all those who need it.”

Australian aid saves lives, and it is important that political leaders recommit to increasing our aid budget at this election. We have halved the number of people living in extreme poverty in just two decades, and with the support of Australian aid we can make poverty history.

Investing in overseas aid is affordable for Australia, and produces immeasurable benefits in people’s lives. Yet we provide less than 1 per cent of national income, which is equivalent to the cost of one cup of coffee a week for every Australian. We can do better than that.