Bishop glad no cuts to foreign aid



Julie Bishop has welcomed news there will be no cuts to foreign aid in the upcoming budget, after speaking to the Treasurer and the Finance Minister.

But the Foreign Minister has refused to spell out what was going through her mind when she rolled her eyes at the mention of the government’s “razor gang” by Joe Hockey earlier on Monday in Parliament.

When asked whether she has been given a guarantee there will be no cuts to foreign aid, Ms Bishop told reporters in Canberra she welcomed news from Mathias Cormann that it would be left alone.

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“We have a significant challenge in front of us to ensure that our aid budget is delivered effectively and efficiently and so I’m pleased that there won’t be any uncertainty surrounding that,” Ms Bishop said.

After earlier rolling her eyes in Parliament when Mr Hockey made mention of the expenditure review committee, Ms Bishop refused to comment on her thoughts.

“I think I’ll keep them to myself,” she said.

“The mention of the expenditure review committee can have a different impact on different people at various times and I just responded to the mention of (it), that’s all.”

The federal treasurer was praising the late Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser for being the “great initiator of the expenditure review committee”, better known as the “razor gang”.

The cabinet committee is in charge of finding budget cuts across the government and has in the past taken a blade to the foreign aid budget.

Mr Hockey said the committee had endured “much to the chagrin of my colleagues”.

While some coalition MPs laughed, Ms Bishop rolled her eyes, shook her head and held her head in her hands.


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