• Shining the Light on tax dodging and corruption

    Posted by John

    18 June, 2014

    About 8 years ago my predecessor in Australia, the wonderful Amanda Jackson, had an idea to take a bunch of ordinary Christians from different backgrounds and denominations to Parliament House in our nation’s capital city to meet face to face with our nation’s political leaders.

    People told Amanda she was crazy. ‘Lobbying is for professionals’ they said. 

    Eight years on, Voices for Justice, our annual national gathering for Micah Challenge Australia, is now widely regarded as one of the best campaigning events in the country. On 23-24 June this year 220 ordinary Australians will once again split up into groups and meet face to face with more than 100 politicians over a period of two days.

    Campaigners from Bangladesh shining the light on tax injustice Campaigners from Bangladesh shining the light on tax injustice Each year, as Voices for Justice approaches, we think strategically about the message we need to convey into our Parliament. This year the choice is simple. We believe we need to use Voices for Justice to shine the light on tax dodging and corruption, which is draining more than $160 billion out of developing nations. This is money that is rightfully theirs. This is money that could be being used for development and reducing poverty.

    Why is this the obvious choice? As I look at our context, it seems God is weaving together a number of strands into something beautiful. Some of these strands include:

    • In November this year Australia is hosting the world’s leaders at the G20. We have an opportunity to influence the agenda for those meetings.
    • Our government, along with many others in the G20, are very concerned about dwindling government revenues and are looking for systems to ensure multinationals pay their fair share of taxes wherever they operate in the world. 
    • International media attention to the issues of tax dodging and corruption is growing
    • Christians all over the world are raising their voices on this issue through the Exposed campaign.

    It is clear that this is a unique opportunity and something must be done. But this is a global problem, and it needs a global solution. We need your help.

    When we walk into the offices of our nation’s political leaders later this month, we want to show them that the rest of the world cares about this issue and is looking to Australia to take the lead on tax justice.

    As we join our stories with the stories of others around the world, the volume of our collective voice grows. There is no other community quite like the Body of Christ when it comes to raising a collective global voice. There are followers of Jesus who are willing to fight for justice in every corner of the globe.

    While we speak in different languages and live in different cultures, we have a unity that transcends barriers – and we stand together with the marginalised and oppressed because we follow a Saviour who stood on our behalf, even to the point of death on a cross.

    We have an opportunity this year. Will you join us? Take a ‘shine the light selfie’ and send it with an email to our National Treasurer, Joe Hockey. Let him know that you want him to take action. Everything you need to do that can be found at www.shinethelight.com.au

    Our prayer is that God will use our humble efforts, as we join with him this year, to take a major step towards the next major breakthrough in the fight against extreme poverty.

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    John Beckett is the National Coordinator for Micah Challenge Australia.