Budget 2018: A ticking time bomb for women’s rights

In response to tonight’s Federal Budget announcement, ActionAid Australia’s Executive Director, Michelle Higelin, said:

This budget is a ticking time bomb for women’s rights and delivers a lethal blow to women in Australia and overseas on multiple fronts.”

“As a global women’s rights organisation, ActionAid is particularly concerned that the Government is funding the arms trade to the tune of $3.8 billion through EFIC, Australia’s export credit agency.

“Armed conflict impacts women disproportionately and will increase insecurity for women around the world and almost amounts to the entire foreign aid budget.

“Despite the Government’s rhetoric around the importance of women’s rights, Australia’s investment in the arms trade will erode any gains made through the aid program, which is now at its lowest point in history.

“The Government has failed to meet its 80% target to support gender equality through the aid program over the past year and is now stepping up financing of what is clearly an anti-women’s rights agenda.

“Australian women should also be concerned. While the Treasurer is boasting $140 billion in tax cuts over the next decade, we know that this will ultimately result in less financing for vital public services that Australians depend on. Experience around the world tells us that when governments reduce taxes which are a vital source of public revenue, women’s unpaid burden of care rises. Without adequate funding into hospitals, education, aged and child care, women will feel these impacts.

“This Government has let down the world’s women tonight – it should be providing adequate funding in Australia and overseas for women’s rights – instead, it’s delivered a budget that will actively rob women of their rights, and entrench gender inequality.

“We’re extremely disappointed in tonight’s Budget, and our Government needs to being doing more to uphold the commitments they have made to women around the world.


Editors’ notes

Michelle Higelin is available for comment/interview. Please contact Holly Miller on 0432 781 294.