Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has been ambiguous in the way it has communicated the aid budget. On some occasions, it has sought to downplay increases in aid spending, while at other times it has sought to downplay cuts to aid spending. We draw on interviews with federal parliamentarians and key informants to understand these dynamics, in the context of obtaining their views on changes to Australia's post-COVID-19 aid policy. We find evidence that a new political consensus is forming around Australian aid. While this â€˜cautious consensusâ€™ countenances aid spending increases, motivated in part by humanitarian concerns but especially by anxiety about increasing Chinese influence in the region, these priorities are tempered by considerable concern about public backlash at a time of significant economic challenges for Australian citizens. Based on this evidence, we define the contours of an emerging â€˜cautious consensusâ€™ by showing how it will differ from the earlier â€˜golden consensusâ€™ era of Australian aid.