Bono meets with Peter Costello

| No Comments


By Michael Harvey, Gerard, McManus and Mark Dunn

TOURING rock star and political activist Bono believes Australia will match other developed nations in lifting aid to poor nations.

The U2 frontman took his anti-poverty campaign direct to federal Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday -- securing the one-on-one meeting Prime Minister John Howard would not give.

While Bono wanted total aid spending lifted, Mr Costello stressed the importance of "aid effectiveness" -- making sure aid dollars were spent on those who needed them and not soaked up by corrupt local officials.

Both men emerged from the hour-long talks liking what they heard.

"He is a very genuine guy, he is a very charming man," Mr Costello said. "He is very sincere and it was just a very warm, positive discussion."

Bono said he enjoyed the meeting and that Australia would eventually reach the goal of committing 0.7 per cent of GDP to aid.

"This wave is breaking and it's going to happen. Australia will get to 0.7," Bono said.

"(Mr Costello) seemed to be personally very interested in the plight of the world's poor and determined to figure a way for his country to play a more committed role."

Mr Costello made no new pledge on the aid front but restated his commitment to lift aid to $4 billion a year.

The meeting came as police intensified efforts to track down key troublemakers from Saturday's violent G20 protest. And political pressure mounted over the Howard Government approving visa applications to up to a dozen foreign protesters with track records of major disruption.

Visa applications were rubber-stamped by Immigration Department officials despite warnings to the Government from security agencies that individual foreign protesters posed a threat.

Opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke said the security lapse showed the Government played favourites when it came to border security.

"These reports show that for Amanda Vanstone the alert rings no alarms," he said.

"Every injured police officer must be asking why border protection was abandoned."

Police believe foreign protesters were among the ring leaders of the weekend's ugly demonstrations, which saw a score of police injured, extensive destruction to city property and a dent put in Melbourne's reputation.

Australian Federal Police and other agencies, who had spent months working on potential terrorists' threats to the summit, compiled dossiers on some of the agitators, according to government sources.

The agencies also used foreign contacts to track the protesters' movements, passing on information to the Government.

But Senator Vanstone said law enforcement and security agencies had placed no alerts on individuals in relation to the G20.

"I am advised that my department is unaware of any such requests in relation to the G20," the minister said.

Security analyst and chief executive at Intelligent Risks, Neil Fergus, said national and international anarchists were identified as being behind most of the trouble.

"Several out of 12 to 15 key organisers were from overseas, part of an international, committed group of anarchists," Mr Fergus said.

Police will investigate radical Left-wing internet chat rooms to track down members of the violent Arterial Bloc protest group. Police are also investigating tip-offs about key trouble makers given to Crime Stoppers from members of the public who identified individuals in newspaper photographs.

One site carried exchanges between members of the group planning their raid in Melbourne, organising their white-hooded disguises and expressing concern about arrests. But members of other protest groups refused to condemn the violence against police.

"They (Arterial Bloc) were part of the broader demonstration on Saturday and were responding to a larger violence," International Socialist Organisation spokesman Jonathon Collerson said.

Copyright © Herald and Weekly Times. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on November 21, 2006 7:53 AM.

U2 Win Battle Against Ex-Stylist was the previous entry in this blog.

You, too is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID