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AID/WATCH the story so far…

Twenty years ago, AID/WATCH was formed in a living room in Sydney by a handful of activists concerned that Australia’s overseas aid money was making life harder for the very people it was supposed to assist.

Dismissed by the Keating government as “two women and a lap top”, AID/WATCH grew to a band of formidable campaigners confronting dubious aid programs that had more to do with opening up low income countries to corporate interests. AID/WATCH brought a whole new style to campaigning with local communities and advocated for aid programs to protect the local environment.

Over the years AID/WATCH has run a number of successful campaigns, engendering positive reforms in Australia’s aid industry and promoting transparency, accountability and effectiveness. Aid programs geared to ending poverty, promoting human rights, protecting local environments and empowering communities have been promoted.

Whether it’s working with communities whose land and livelihoods are threatened by development programs such as those along the Mekong River, challenging AusAID funded programs that directly attempt to change customary land in the Pacific; exposing aid flows tied to neoliberal development, or mobilising the Australian public to write submissions to aid enquiries, AID/WATCH have campaigned tirelessly for a better Australian aid program. 

Unlike other aid organisations AID/WATCH chose to only advocate and campaign on Australia’s aid program and to not accept money to deliver aid projects. That decision was taken to help strengthen the independence of AID/WATCH’s message.

The success of our advocacy work has rattled a few cages over the years with the Howard government attempting to shut our organisation down. In 2006 the ATO revoked AID/WATCH’s charitable tax status for engaging in advocacy work, a move that removed free speech and attempted to gag any NGO from criticising government policy. Although it took four years and a high court battle, this order was eventually lifted.

Sadly, our work isn’t done. AID/WATCH continues to campaign around for environmental, human and Indigenous rights to be incorporated into our aid program. We will continue to expose where money is spent on dodgy projects and when it goes to the benefit of the wealthy rather than the poor. Come and help us celebrate the last 20 years of our work, and welcome in the next 20.

The Event..

AID/WATCH is proud to announce our 20th Anniversary celebration. We’ve got a great panel of speakers lined up to remind us of some of our greatest (and embarrassing) moments, and a plethora of amazing bands. Join us at the Red Rattler in Marrickville on Thursday, 6 September.

Doors open and the first band kick-off at 7pm.

Keynote speech and panel discussion from 8-9pm

Musical fiesta continues from 9pm until close.

Keynote speaker: Founding AID/WATCH member Senator Lee Rhiannon

Music from:


Persian melodies meets Western Rythyms

My Sauce Good

French Swing, original Cabaret-inspired tunes, soulful Latin-American folksong, a haunting Hebrew lullaby, Bohemian Jazz

The Rhythm Hunters

Influences come from Japanese taiko, Indonesian music and the multicultural soundscapes of modern day Australia

  Nibbles provided, drinks available at the bar

 When: Thursday 6 September 2012

Time: 7pm – 11.30pm

Where: The Red Rattler

            6 Faversham St

            Marrickville, NSW, 2204

Cost:   $20 Concession/unwaged

          $30 waged

          $50 passionate supporter


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