Micah Challenge Australia Blog

 

The Micah Challenge blog is a space for discussion and debate about the issues of global poverty, faith, advocacy and justice and the Millennium Development Goals. This blog aims to provoke thought and challenge you to learn more about the issues discussed. We welcome your comments.

Micah Challenge is a global campaign of Christians speaking out against poverty and injustice. Click here to visit the Micah Challenge website.

  • Is aid being streamlined, sidelined or undermined?

    Posted by Ben

    19 September, 2013

    Although Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised methodical and purposeful government with no surprises, it certainly has been a surprising few weeks for Australian aid. First, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced plans to cut the aid budget in the final hours of the election campaign. And now, just as the new Government was being sworn in, the Prime Minister has revealed that AusAID will be "integrated" into the Department of Foreign Affairs of Trade. In this longish post, I just want to walk through what we know and don't know of these two decisions and the implications that are immediately obvious and those yet to be realised. I also want to make clear that while the new Government is entitled to all our respect and prayers, we will not cease from seeking to be a voice for the voiceless, and calling the Government to defend the rights of the poor and needy. We hope you will continue to raise your voice with us. Together, our voices can be powerful. 1. The Cuts We were all shocked as we learned at the last minute that the Coalition planned to fund a large… read more

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  • What is the real impact of the Coalition's planned aid cuts?

    Posted by Ben

    9 September, 2013

    While many predicted that an incoming Coalition Government would slow the growth in the aid budget, few saw coming the depth and cruelty of the cuts they have promised. Despite having joined the ALP in making a bipartisan promise to increase aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income, the Coalition will take it backwards from its current level of 0.35% (and scheduled to reach 0.37% in the current year) to 0.32% GNI. Despite incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott having personally declared his commitment to the 0.5% target, the Coalition will preside over the first reversal in aid growth since our nation signed on to support the Millennium Development Goals under Prime Minister John Howard. Although Prime-Minister elect, Tony Abbott, and Treasurer-elect Joe Hockey have argued that these are reductions in growth rather than cuts – this is not the case. The Coalition's own costings table (pdf – see item 9.11) shows that they plan to cut $656 million from this year's aid budget – which is money already budgeted and committed.… read more

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  • Election day announced - Call to prayer

    Posted by John

    5 August, 2013

    I’m no political junkie, but there are a couple of political boffins in our office who are very excited today! If you haven't heard, an election has been called for September 7. The boffins will be colouring their electorate maps in red and blue and watching ABC News in their lunch breaks! As the election approaches, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. It’s been a tough year for the Movement to End Poverty as we have challenged the Government to finish well as the 2015 deadline for the MDGs approaches. The evidence that either of the major parties is wholeheartedly committed to a generous and effective aid program is less than convincing. On the Government side, we’ve seen three major cuts to aid spending in the last 15 months – the latest coming last Friday as Treasurer Chris Bowen announced further cuts to aid totalling $879 million over the next four years in response to reduced revenue projections and the increased costs of their asylum seeker policies. Each time there has been pressure on the budget, the people who manage… read more

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  • Reflections on the latest UN MDG report

    Posted by Gershon

    15 July, 2013

    The latest UN MDG report was released this month. It’s one of those reports that I really look forward to every year, it’s probably the best snapshot of the progress the world has (and hasn’t) been making in the fight against poverty. Committing a few choice statistics from the report to memory is also a great way to razzle dazzle your friends and colleagues with your ‘amazing’ knowledge of world events. Next dinner party, try a line like this one, “I loved that speech that Malala gave to the UN about education this weekend. Did you know that in the last decade or so, the number of children out of school has almost halved, falling from 102 million in 2000 to 57 million by 2011?” It’s a guaranteed way to get some self-esteem boosting ‘oohs and aahs’. Back to the report. It outlines that many of the Millennium Development Goals are within reach by the 2015 deadline, but to achieve them will require building on the momentum that has been generated, despite the economic difficulties facing many nations. The… read more

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