In this caring, considerate Trumpian Era we find ourselves, let’s pause to reflect on the lay of the land in our own neighbourhood.
Currently Australian foreign aid is at the least generous in its history.
Most other donor countries, responding to unprecedented humanitarian challenges and recognising the importance of continued development progress for global stability, have been increasing their aid spending. Total OECD aid reached a record high in 2015. In embarrassingly stark contrast, Australia has made savage cuts to foreign aid in recent years.
Australia ranks 7th on the OECD scale of most prosperous nations yet on the ratio of foreign aid to national income – Australia fell from 13th to 16th in 2015.
Six OECD countries – Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK – have met the United Nations target to provide at least 0.7% of their national income as foreign aid.
In contrast, between 2012 and 2016, Australia’s foreign aid as a share of national income has fallen steeply from 0.36% to 0.23%. That’s less than 1/3 of the target.
Though I know we all studied hard and made sacrifices to get where we are and continue to work hard and with great responsibility, we should be cognisant of the fact that doctors in Australia happen to be among the highest paid in the world. In fact in 2014 we ranked second only to The Netherlands. The average Australian specialist earnings were $250,000 pa and average GP earnings were $100,000.
Contrast this with the country where I was born, Romania, where the salary of an average GP has recently increased to about $15,000 pa. I suspect many of you reading this newsletter where born in countries that generally pay doctors significantly less than we currently receive.
So … Caring about the less fortunate in a new world that in many was feels less caring seems like something that we , as extremely privileged professionals in an extremely privileged country (that perhaps isn’t pulling its weight on foreign aid), ought to consider. After all we are in a caring profession.
Regards to all
Rob Baume (on behalf of the Directors of TTD)