Intelligence Squared Debate: Foreign Aid is a Waste of Money

Intelligence Squared Debate: Foreign Aid is a Waste of Money

From child soldiers in Sudan to gang violence in Papua New Guinea; tsunamis in the Pacific to earthquakes in New Zealand, we’re confronted with communities in need every day. Who should we help? How can we be sure our aid dollars reach their destination? Some believe that aid traps communities in a cycle of dependence, holding them back from developing their own systems and managing their own issues. So on balance, do those dollars hurt more than they help?

And with endemic poverty in Australia’s indigenous communities and natural disaster breaking Queensland’s budget – should we ‘take care of our own’ first?

Arguing that the aid dollar is a waste of money is Greg Sheridan, the Australian’s foreign editor; James Goodman, associate professor at UTS’ Social and Political Change group and Tim Wilson, currently director of the Intellectual and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs.

And on the opposing team, arguing that aid is anything but a waste, is Samah Hadid, a human rights activist; Andrew Hewett, executive director of Oxfam Australia and Martin Thomas of World Vision, Australia.

Simon Longstaff, from the St James Ethics Centre, acts as moderator.


Portrait of James Goodman

James Goodman

James Goodman has been on the management committee of the aid-monitoring group AidWatch since 1999. He has campaigned and researched on global justice issues since the mid 1990s and is co-author of a new book on the policy ideas of the global justice movement.

Portrait of Samah Hadid

Samah Hadid

Samah Hadid is the National Director of The Global Poverty Project. She has campaigned widely on social justice and women’s rights issues.

Portrait of Andrew Hewett

Andrew Hewett

Andrew Hewett is Executive Director of Oxfam Australia.

Portrait of Simon Longstaff

Simon Longstaff

Dr Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre and chairs the Intelligence Squared debates in Sydney and Melbourne.

Portrait of Greg Sheridan

Greg Sheridan

Greg Sheridan is the Australian’s foreign editor, and one of the most influential foreign affairs analysts in Australian journalism. After 35 years in the field, he is a veteran of international affairs who has interviewed leaders all over the Asia Pacific and America.

Portrait of Martin Thomas

Martin Thomas

Martin Thomas is the Head of Public Affairs and External Relations at World Vision Australia. He has worked in the aid and development sector for more than a decade both for World Vision and UNICEF, in Australia and overseas.

Portrait of Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson is the Member for Goldstein. He was first elected in 2016 and achieved the strongest result in the Goldstein’s history for the Liberal Party. As a proud liberal he is committed to economic and social freedom, underpinned by the preservation of our culture and institutions.

He formerly served as Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner. In that role he worked with the government to reform laws to stop and prevent terrorism, improving economic opportunities for indigenous Australians as well as standing up for laws to protect free speech and stop marginalised communities from public harassment.

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