Joint Press Conference with the Prime Minister of Vietnam

Lisa Martin
18 March 2015

Excerpt of transcript:


Now, I think the next question is from Lisa Martin of AAP.


One in 10 people in Vietnam live in extreme poverty on $1.25 US a day or less. Mr Abbott, was it embarrassing for you to explain to Mr Dũng that Australia is cutting its aid budget by $11 billion overall and Mr Dũng, are you concerned about the potential impact of aid cuts on your people?


Perhaps if I could go first. Look, obviously it is important for all countries to ensure that their domestic economic house is in order because if you don’t have your domestic economic house in order, it’s very difficult to be a good friend and neighbour abroad.

Yes, there have been some modest reductions coming up in Australia’s aid budget, but our aid budget has been growing very strongly in recent years and we think it’s important to pause it and scale it back a bit before it then starts to grow again in a few years’ time.

But, obviously, as part of a modest reduction in the overall aid budget, we will be focusing the aid that we give on our region and Vietnam is very much a strong, respected and increasingly important part of our region.

I guess the objective of aid is important to remember, too. The objective of aid is not to create a relationship of permanent dependency; the objective of aid is to ensure that countries are helped to develop to the point where they don’t need aid anymore and, obviously, the very strong economic growth that Vietnam has enjoyed over the last few years, particularly under the economic stewardship of Prime Minister Dũng, means that the need for this kind of assistance will be less and less in the years and decades to come.

Thanks very much. It’s terrific to be here. Thank you.


The entire transcript for the press conference can be found here.

Lisa Martin participated in the masterclass during the 2015 International Development Journalism Fellowship.