What parliamentarians think about Australia's post-COVID-19 aid program: The emerging ‘cautious consensus’ in Australian aid

Benjamin Day, Tamas Wells*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has been ambiguous in the way it has communicated the aid budget. On some occasions, it has sought to downplay increases in aid spending, while at other times it has sought to downplay cuts to aid spending. We draw on interviews with federal parliamentarians and key informants to understand these dynamics, in the context of obtaining their views on changes to Australia's post-COVID-19 aid policy. We find evidence that a new political consensus is forming around Australian aid. While this ‘cautious consensus’ countenances aid spending increases, motivated in part by humanitarian concerns but especially by anxiety about increasing Chinese influence in the region, these priorities are tempered by considerable concern about public backlash at a time of significant economic challenges for Australian citizens. Based on this evidence, we define the contours of an emerging ‘cautious consensus’ by showing how it will differ from the earlier ‘golden consensus’ era of Australian aid.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)384-400
    Number of pages17
    JournalAsia and the Pacific Policy Studies
    Volume8
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

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