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24 August 2017

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Philip, the plot thickens. We might have to call on the old bard himself. Mind you there's quite a lot of Joyce's around these days.

The 'death stare' thing might be worth following up - it could be she's a dual citizen from Mars.

Dame Edna will know.

Peter - pansies, eh.

Perhaps I ought to seek Dame Edna's opinion.

That's flower-ism William - discrimination against flowers. Not to mention the idea of inflicting her on rural people. The only upside I can see is a possible surge in the sale of boutique gum boots.

Good one Peter. The blind leading the blind, All paid for by our tax dollars.

I am still of the opinion, in fact, moreso, that the Hon Julie Bishop, the present foreign minister, would be best relegated to a role as a flower judge. Preferably at rural shows.

Fellow country people, no pun or insult implied or intended.

Seems to be part of a broader problem where Australia is losing skills and experience and passing the buck to private contractors.

A handful of companies are cashing in on Australia's dwindling foreign aid budget, securing billions of dollars to do some of the work the Government used to do itself.

Government contracts show four companies have been paid close to $4 billion from the aid budget to manage long-term projects since 2014, when the Abbott government merged Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and AusAid.

Australia's aid community believes the merger left the Government without the skills and ability to manage major aid projects — something DFAT denies.

Ten companies now receive close to 20 per cent of the aid budget each year — up from 14 per cent in 2012. They have earned $712 million in the last 12 months alone.

DFAT's top four choices — Cardno Emerging Markets, Palladium International, Coffey International Development and ABT Associates — pocketed $461.8 million last financial year.

ABC - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-24/private-companies-to-cash-in-on-australias-foreign-aid-budget/8836390

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