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Geldof: More From Down-Under, Please

  • December 3rd, 2007
  • Posted by Emma Cillekens

geldof-ucdie.jpgRock Royalty — Sir Bob Geldof — has hooked up with Australia’s third city, in the process making some criticism of the host country, and dropping in some praise for the EU…

Sir Bob Geldof was in Brisbane last moth (19.11.07) speaking about major world issues like climate change and combating world poverty.

There to take part in a Business Leaders’ Forum at the Queensland University of Technology, he was appointed an Ambassador for the city, by the Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman.

The new recruit and famed champion of world development started in this position with smiles and humour, but shortly after launched an attack on Australia’s level of foreign aid.

“It’s embarrassingly pathetic,” he said, when asked if Australia was shouldering its weight of the world’s international aid.

“In fact it is one of the meanest on the planet.”

During the recent election campaign Australia’s new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd promised to increase Australia’s overseas aid program from 0.3 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent by 2015.

But even this promise didn’t go down to well with Geldof.

In fact he said that by promising just 0.5 per cent by 2015 Australia was breaking an agreement to follow the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations — to reach 0.7 per cent by 2015.

“I’m sure he is constrained because he is a politician but the reality is, it is actually breaking an Australian promise to get 0.7 by 2015,” he said.

“If you don’t get to 0.5 per cent by 2010, you don’t get to 0.7 per cent by 2015.”

Although the newly appointed honorary ambassador for Brisbane had some harsh words for Australia, he had a different take on the European Union.

“Britain will get to 0.51 per cent, which is the result of Live Aid by 2012, France by 2013, and the European countries … will get to 0.7 per cent by 2015,” he said.

The hint from this rock star turned anti-poverty campaigner was broad enough: Australia could take some lessons from Brussels.

Picture: Bob Geldof in academic mode, ucd.ie

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