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.

  • Australia's Minister for International Development

    Posted by Ben

    1 July, 2013

    Newly (re)installed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took his ministerial team to the Governor General yesterday for swearing in. We'll leave it for others to comment on ALP leadership, the timing of an election, the make-up of the ministry, what it means for political debate in this country, and all that. What we want to comment on is that Australia now has a Minister for International Development – Western Australian MP Melissa Parke. The last time Australia had ministry level representation for international development (rather than the more junior Parliamentary Secretary position) was in 1993–96 when Gordon Bilney was Minister for Development Cooperation and Pacific Affairs. It won't be a cabinet level ministry, but it brings a much needed specific focus on international development into government decision-making. Melissa Parke is well-regarded and has considerable relevant experience, having served as a human rights lawyer with the United Nations. She also spoke out strongly against the Government's diversion of aid towards the domestic… read more

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  • Crackdown on Tax Dodging Needs to Go Global

    Posted by Mark

    22 May, 2013

    After all the attention focused on aid delays and asylum seekers in last week’s Federal Budget, you may be forgiven for not noticing that the Government also announced steps to crack down on multinational tax dodging. This move could raise an extra $4.2 billion over the next four years. The Government will crack-down on multinational companies being able to loan money to themselves and then claim the interest repayments as a tax deduction, a process whereby multinationals essentially receive a tax break for recycling money from one part of the company to another. Research by Dr Grantley Taylor of the Curtain Business School and Professor Grant Richardson (paywall) from the University of Adelaide found that for publicly listed Australian companies, this practice, along with the misuse of transactions between different parts of the same multinational enterprise (known as transfer mispricing), were the primary methods of tax avoidance in the period 2006 to 2009. These tax-dodging practices are also used by multinational companies to cheat developing countries… read more

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  • Australia's Aid Budget 2013-14: Delayed, Diverted but Still Doing Good

    Posted by Ben

    14 May, 2013

    In an unusual move, most of the big news about Australia's aid budget was announced well before Budget Night. We've known the big picture since Foreign Minister Bob Carr let us all in on the secret on Monday morning. The aid budget will grow by $518 million from last year, reaching almost $5.7 billion dollars, or 0.37% of Gross National Income (GNI). And while this is very welcome news, lifting aid to its highest level as a proportion of our national income since 1985, it's also not the only side to the story. The commitment to increase aid to 0.5% GNI has been pushed back for the second year in a row – now expected to be reached in 2017-18. The effect of these two delays has been to remove around $4.8 billion from planned aid spending over the period 2012–16. To my mind, these two delays really do call into question whether the Government is serious when it says it "remains committed" to reaching the 0.5% target. I'm not sure that the word committed means what they seem to think it means. The Government… read more

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  • Does it ever get better?

    Posted by Irena

    22 April, 2013

    I can still remember the day I saw my first child sponsorship commercial, exposing me to the harsh realities of poverty, many years ago. To this day, I can recall the overwhelming sadness I felt as I first learned of the injustices taking place in other parts of the world. I had heard my mother talk about the starving kids in Africa, usually while trying to convince me to eat my own food. I even possibly knew a little bit about the conditions of developing nations in the Asia Pacific and South America, thanks to all five of my primary school years. However, this was the first time I had really and deeply understood that life was not fair and that the rest of the world did not look like my clean and cosy suburb in middle-class America. I was determined to do something to help—well, as soon as I could get a job. Fast forward five years or so to the day I finally hold my first pay check in my hand. I want to make a difference, this hasn’t changed, but is giving what little I have to a non-profit the way to do it? Five years later, the same commercial… read more

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