Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Australia's foreign aid `embarrassingly pathetic': Geldof


Singer and activist Bob Geldof blasted Australia's foreign aid program as "embarrassingly pathetic" as he accepted a new role as honorary ambassador for Brisbane yesterday.

Geldof said Australia spent less than 0.5 percent of GDP on foreign aid -- saying that was a "tragic" amount given the booming economy.

"It's embarrassingly pathetic. In fact, it's one of the meanest in the planet," he told reporters.

He said it was "way behind the rest of the developed world."

"For a country that keeps boasting about its huge growth, which is absolutely correct, you should boast and be proud of it, is 99.5 percent not enough for you?" he said.

Geldof said Australia had agreed to commit 0.7 percent of GDP to foreign aid by 2015 under the UN's Millennium Development Goals but that the country could do more given its wealth.

"If people think that's a lot of money -- what, 99.3 [percent] is not enough for you all, does that not do it? It's tragic," he said.

Geldof was in Brisbane to address a business leaders' forum.

"It's an honorific, it's an honorary thing, I'm not literally going to go: `And while I'm here, did you know I'm ambassador of Brisbane?'" he said.

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