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Matthew Clarke's blog

An Appreciative View of Religion and Development

With over 80 per cent of the world’s population professing religious belief, holding such belief must be considered a common human characteristic. Moreover, religious belief is relevant to both social and private realms. Religious belief systems provide a meaning for existence through which adherents interpret their own circumstances and make decisions on how to act and interact in wider society. The values and attitudes associated with religious beliefs within countries therefore affect both public policy settings as well as social behaviours (with both positive and harmful consequences possible).

Hands off our aid

The message is quite simple – hands off the overseas aid budget. The Australian aid program represents the generosity of the Australian public to those living in our region or across the globe that require humanitarian assistance to improve basic living standards or support in times of emergency.
 
Domestic fiscal constraints – especially those based on political expediency – should not drive our commitment to the world’s poor. Yet, two recent decisions have done precisely that.
 

How Australian aid in Asia can benefit those at home

Australians are a generous people.

On a per capita basis, public donations to help those affected by natural disasters are amongst the highest in the world.

Studies show that it does not hinge on where these emergencies occur, nor what type of emergencies they are, and nor finally does it depend upon how long it has been since the last public appeal.

Full item at The Conversation

Six Month Anniversary of Haitian Earthquake

Aceh has much to teach the world – including those engaged in the reconstruction of Haiti.

 

It is now six months since Haiti was devastated by an earthquake and six years since the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 devastated Aceh.

 

Attention in Haiti has moved to the reconstruction accompanied by well publicized frustration at how slowly these efforts are going.

 

Climate Change - Science not Politics is Needed

Plans to reduce carbon emissions are currently centre stage in Federal politics. There now exists two alternative policies to reduce carbon emissions in Australia – the first is legislation before the Senate as proposed by the Government and the second is a proposal developed by the Opposition. Neither is adequate and neither seems to countenance the next major international meeting to discuss the global response to be held in Copenhagen later this year.

What is development?

The postgraduate International and Community Development course has existed for over 20 years at Deakin University. It is Australia’s largest and oldest course of its kind with hundreds of students studying in countries around the world. Our past and present students work in international aid agencies, local councils, state and federal governments, community-based organisations, and UN bodies. All of them dedicating their working lives to bringing about ‘development’.

The budget and foreign aid

It always takes a couple of weeks for the dust to settle on the 'big ticket' items in any federal budget before space can be found to discuss some of the smaller budget areas. The global financial crisis (GFC), certainly added a extra level of complexity to the budget process (and perhaps an extra level of naivety to the subsequent analysis). But now that that some time has passed and the hysteria over the budget deficit has slowed somewhat, discussion of Australia's aid program can take place.

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