The following quote is taken from an article by Damien Kingsbury at Crikey today (emphasis added):
“It is true that many Australians do wonder why we have a foreign aid program. Barnaby Joyce was in favour of scrapping it a little while back. One has to assume that foreign policy is not the strong suit of either Mr Joyce or Mr Abbott. Australia has an aid program so it can (try to) achieve desirable outcomes in countries of strategic interest, to give a little bit of economic substance to its diplomatic rhetoric, and to genuinely assist some people who, through no personal fault of their own, end up in pretty rotten circumstances…”
What this tells me is that Abbott and Co. don’t realise that if Australia cuts back its foreign aid then we will have an even harder time ‘stopping the boats’. If we cannot provide assistance to people who struggle to survive or to receive their basic human rights, then Australia becomes a more attractive destination for them to escape to when things get worse. If Abbott and Co. have their way, then they will have no-one to blame but themselves for the increased number of refugees they dread so much.