Australia’s Foreign Aid: Who For? What For?

canberra_skeptics 6 April 2011

Does aid reflect Australia’s domestic political wishes and worries of the voter or is it a tool in the Government’s outward looking foreign policy kit? Where should aid sit as a diplomatic instrument?

This talk will assess foreign aid as a tool of the Government and as an industry. AusAID is seen by most officials and aid grant bidders as the most cash rich agency of the Commonwealth Government. However, does aid spending have a benefit for Australia and does aid spending substantially benefit its recipients or target groups?

Philip Eliason is a former diplomat who has worked independently for over 20 years in the policy and political domain. In 2009, Philip went to Yemen to run a UK government aid project. He also reviewed Save the Children fund activity and worked pro-bono on a Yemen government project to protect the Arabian Peninsula’s only dinosaur trackway. From March 2010, he has worked on issues such as extremism, homelessness, agricultural development, greenhouse proofing and training for Government officials. On arrival in Yemen in November 2010, he was welcomed, photographed and interrogated. Following this short visit he returned to Australia where he has helped remotely a number of assistance projects in the country. Philip will seek to place foreign aid into a program category which despite its substantial developmental evaluation remains driven by home and not beneficiary considerations.

Philip took a BA (Hons) from ANU in 1980 and joined the now DFAT in 1981 and worked in Egypt, Syria and on the Arabian Gulf before resigning in 1988 to help lead the National Farmers Federation. He has run other national lobby groups, advised the Government on security of Australian’s abroad and worked in Parliament as a foreign policy adviser. He has a wide range of foreign contacts in the Middle East and sees the turbulence in the area as a reason for Australian firms to review their business relationships in the area.

No need to book but note that the theatre holds 106.

Dinner will follow the lecture at the Canberra Club (Level 1, 45 West Row Canberra City ACT 2601). To RSVP for the dinner please contact
For further information about Canberra Skeptics please visit our website:

A Canberra Skeptics Lecture
Time: 6pm Friday 13th May 2011
Place: Innovations Lecture Theatre, Eggleston Road ANU
Speaker: Philip Eliason

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