Reduction of funding for international legal measures

Budget Review 2013–14 Index

Leah Ferris

In the lead-up to the 2013–14 Budget the Foreign Minister, Senator Carr, announced that, while international aid funding will continue to grow, the Government’s target to increase funding so that it reaches 0.5% of the gross national income (GNI) will be deferred another year.[1] Cost-saving measures have also been included in the Budget with respect to Australia’s contribution to the International Criminal Court (the ICC) and Australia’s assistance with law and justice frameworks in Africa.

The International Criminal Court

The Government will achieve savings of $40.3 million over four years by re-directing money from programs within the Attorney-General’s Department and departmental expenses of Portfolio agencies.[2] This will include reducing the funding Australia provides to the ICC by $5.0 million over 4 years.

The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court and was established by the Rome Statute, to which Australia became a state party on 1 September 2002. [3] As a member state, Australia is obliged to contribute annually to the operations of the ICC. The contributions of each state are determined by the same method used by the UN, which roughly corresponds with a country's income.[4] For example, in the 2011–12 period Australia’s assessed contribution was $3,878,760.[5] In addition to the annual required contribution, Australia has made a number of one-off voluntary contributions to various ICC programs.[6]

It would appear that the funding provision for the ICC over the past five years has been significantly higher than Australia is required to contribute.[7] The Government has announced that it will reduce Australia’s funding provision for the ICC by $5.0 million over four years to reflect the Commonwealth’s compulsory obligation to the ICC. Instead of decreasing the funding by 1.25 million each year, the Government has significantly reduced this year’s contribution and allocated more funding in subsequent years.[8] Even with the decrease in funding, the amount allocated for Australia’s contribution to the ICC will be be significantly higher than the assessed contribution.

Australia’s contribution to the International Criminal Court

2012–13
(Revised Budget)

2013–14
(Budget)

2014–15
(Forward year 1)

2015–16
(Forward year 2)

2016–17
(Forward year 3)

Total–Expense ($m)

4,940

6,324

7,462

7,743

7,926

Portfolio budget statements 2012–13: budget related paper no. 1.2: Attorney-General’s Portfolio

Australian assistance with law and justice frameworks in Africa

In the 2009–10 Budget, the Government announced that it would provide $17.3 million over four years to assist African countries in developing law and justice frameworks.[9]

On 4 August 2010, the Leader of the Opposition asked the Department of Finance and Deregulation to prepare a costing on discontinuing the program.[10] The Department advised that the total amount of funding to be reversed over the four years (from 2010–11 to 2013–14) was $16.7 million.[11] The Department appeared to have been of the view that funding would only be ongoing till 2013–14. However, in the 2013–14 Budget the Government has calculated that it will save 17.6 million over the next 4 year period (2013–14 to 2016–17) by concluding the program, which suggests that at some stage further money was budgeted for the continuation of the program.

As part of the 2013–14 Budget the Government has announced that funding will cease for this program, as ‘the program’s planned achievements have largely been met’.[12] The Government stated that it would continue with its commitments to aid programs in Africa.

Africa — law and justice frameworks — Australian assistance

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

Total – Expense ($m)

-

-4.3

-4.4

-4.4

-4.5

Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14



[1].       B Carr (Foreign Minister), Foreign aid, media release, 13 May 2013, accessed 14 May 2013.

[2].       The budget figures in this brief have been taken from the following document unless otherwise sourced: Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, accessed 15 May 2013.

[3].       Further information about the ICC is available on the Attorney-General’s website: Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), ‘Support for the International Criminal Court’, AGD website, accessed 16 May 2013; In order to ratify the Rome Statute, Australia enacted the International Criminal Court Act 2002 and the International Criminal Court (Consequential Amendments) Act 2002.

[4].       Further information on how contributions to the ICC are calculated are set out in this report: International Criminal Court: Assembly of State Parties, Report of the Court on the methodology for its scale of assessment, eleventh session, 14–22 November 2012, the Hague, accessed 15 May 2013.

[5].       Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), Annual Report 2011–12, AGD, 2012, p. 159, accessed 15 May 2013.

[6].       R McClelland (Attorney-General) and K Rudd (Foreign Minister), Australia boosts support for the International Criminal Court, media release, 14 July 2011, accessed 15 May 2013.

[7].        As part of the 2011–12 Budget, the Government reduced the funding allocated to the ICC, though this was not a substantial reduction: Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2011–12, accessed 16 May 2013.

[8].       Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2013–14: budget related paper no. 1.2: Attorney-General’s Portfolio, p. 32, accessed 16 May 2013.

[9].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2009–10, accessed 16 May 2013. Further information about the program is included in Budget Paper No. 2.

[10].      Department of Finance and Deregulation, Receipt of request for funding of an election commitment: Discontinue funding for Africa Law and Justice Frameworks, media release, 5 August 2010, accessed 16 May 2013. This measure formed part of the Coalition’s economic plan for the 2010 election.

[11].      Department of Finance and Deregulation, Release of costing of election commitment: discontinue funding for Africa Law and Justice Frameworks, 10 August 2010, accessed 16 May 2013.

[12].      Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, accessed 15 May 2013.

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