This article by Clarissa Bye & Clare Armstrong was originally featured in The Daily Telegraph (Apr 9, 2020).
AUSTRALIAN taxpayers should pull the plug on more than $57 million in “voluntary” yearly contributions to the WHO in light of its bungled coronavirus response and kowtowing to Beijing, say policy experts.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to stop funding the UN health agency, blasting it for being slow to respond and “China-centric”, while Sydney MP Dave Sharicisms, saying it had become a “politicised organisation”.
Mr Trump said he was considering scrapping almost half a billion dollars the US pays to the World Health Organisation, arguing they had been “wrong about a lot of things” over the virus.
“They actually criticised and disagreed with my travel bans.” Mr Trump said. “They could have called it months earlier, they would have known.”
Mr Sharma, a former diplomat and federal government backbencher, said the WHO had not been as “intrusive or demanding as they should have been” toward China during the early stages of the crisis.
“I think (WHO) … was too willing to accept Chinese explanations for this virus and the source and causes,” he said.
Australia pays about $9 mil- lion a year “membership” to the WHO, with extra top-up “gift” contributions which can vary year to year, from $63 million in 2016 to $57 million in 2018.
Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Andrew Bushnell backs Mr Trump’s criticisms.
“Top officials opted to protect the interests of the Chinese Communist Party rather than to prevent a global pandemic,” he said “The WHO was wrong about the need for shutting down international travel and wrong about the efficacy of wearing masks.
“We should cease making voluntary contributions and re-consider our membership if the organisation refuses to reform.”