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.

  • We said / They said - Micah Challenge response to the aid review

    Posted by John

    6 July, 2011

    Is the government's response to the aid review, released today, good news for the world's poor? We think so! Our submission to the aid review had nine recommendations. Here's a little game of We Said/They Said through the lens of those nine recommendations. 1. We said: Make poverty-reduction the central and overarching purpose of the Australian aid program. They said: 'The fundamental purpose of Australian aid is to help people overcome poverty.' This, in turn ‘serves Australia's national interests by promoting stability and prosperity both in our region and beyond.' 2. We said: On aid quantity, reach at least 0.5% GNI by 2015/16, and provide the framework for a sustainable growth path to 0.7%, if not by 2015/16 then as quickly as possible. They said: The government's commitment to reach 0.5 percent of GNI by 2015-16 will, subject to future levels of economic growth, see the aid budget almost double again, to around $8 billion. Mr Rudd suggested we can do more: ‘In 2007, both Australia's… read more

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  • Aid consultants earning more than the Prime Minister!

    Posted by John

    4 July, 2011

    Over the weekend, the newspapers once again highlighted the issue of technical consultants being paid enormous amounts of money to contribute their expertise to Australian funded aid programs. The figures are striking, and should prompt us to ask serious questions. Is this the most effective way that we can be spending our aid dollars? The frustrating thing in these kinds of media reports is that there is nothing constructive about the commentary. These wages seem ridiculous to me and it is a problem that the government needs to continue to address, but once again, our attention is directed away from the actual problem at hand - poverty! That's the problem we need to fix. It angers me that while we talk about consultant salaries, we forget to talk about any of the good news stories. We forget to talk about finding real solutions. We forget to be constructive. The media articles refer to the recently completed Independent Aid Review. Hopefully that review, soon to be released by the government, will prompt us to discuss both the quantity and the quality of… read more

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  • Senior church leaders meet Federal politicians - a lot of love in the room!

    Posted by John

    24 June, 2011

    5.45 am yesterday I pulled myself out of bed and ventured out into a dark and bleak Canberra morning. For the first time, Micah Challenge were pulling together a significant group of denominational leaders in Parliament House for a day of lobby meetings with Federal Politicians. Love wasn't a word that was on my mind. Any who have tried will know that bringing churches together to do things is not always easy - let alone adding Federal politicians into the mix. But God was gracious. A group including senior representatives of the Anglican, Baptist, Vineyard, Australian Christian Churches, Salvation Army, Churches of Christ and Uniting churches had 32 meetings with MPs and Senators in one day. There was an open door for our collective voice to be heard. The day started with a Parliamentary breakfast where we presented the creative petitions that many of you sent to Kevin Rudd as part of our Mothers Day midwife crisis campaign. Mr Rudd accepted and acknowledged them. He spoke well - as he usually does on this issue - indicating that health indeed should be a… read more

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  • Malaysian refugees: the reality behind the so-called solution

    Posted by John

    20 May, 2011

    Last week our government announced a new refugee deal with the Malaysian government. It wasn't by design that just two days later I found myself spending the day with a group of Chin refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had planned to visit this community weeks before. As it turned out, my timing was perfect. The Chin are a people group in Burma, majority Christian, who face significant religious and cultural persecution. They are treated like aliens in their own land, living in fear of violence, forced labour and in some cases even death. As a result, many of them resort to doing business with the people smugglers that we hear so much about in our nation, so that they can make their way into either India or Malaysia, with the hope of registering with the UNHCR and hopefully being resettled to a third country. Two or three years after fleeing their own land, some of the fortunate ones end up as resettled refugees on our shores and living in our cities. Some remain in limbo for many more years than that. The story is not that alarming, until you start to dig into… read more

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