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.

  • Looking Forward With Perseverance

    Posted by Steve

    24 May, 2012

    This is an Olympics year, hence the following athletic metaphor. The campaign to increase Australia’s official development assistance to a more reasonable and compassionate level is always going to be more of a marathon than a sprint. We have just experienced a major disappointment in our campaign to raise Australia’s official aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015. It doesn’t even seem a particularly ambitious target, and yet, in the name of fiscal discipline, the Federal Government has reneged on its promised timetable for achieving it. As a consequence there will be $2.9 billion less spent on programs to benefit the global poor over the next four years than was earlier promised. Many, many people will continue in their suffering as a result of this decision. It also means that Australia will not be doing its fair share in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals. Unless, of course, either the ALP can be persuaded to renege on its reneging, or the Coalition can be persuaded to stick to its promise of delivering 0.5% by 2015… read more

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  • Aid budget - the silence of the Opposition

    Posted by Ben

    16 May, 2012

    We know where the Government stands on its aid budget – basically a little bit less and a little bit late. But it's not so clear where the Opposition stands. The Opposition joined with the Government in the Senate last week to vote against a Greens motion to reinstate the commitment to increase aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015. Tony Abbott offered a resounding silence on whether he would stand behind his own words in defence of this commitment during his budget reply speech. Some responses are starting to emerge, however. You can find the Coalition's position (or current lack of a settled position) set out by Senator Birmingham here. In Senator Birmingham's opinion piece, and in communication to Micah Challenge supporters from Opposition MPs, the Coalition seem to be suggesting three things. First, the Coalition asserts that the Government has made it impossible for anyone to achieve 0.5% by 2015 because "we must ensure our aid is efficient and effective." We completely agree with the premise – our aid must be… read more

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  • Why The 0.5% Commitment Matters

    Posted by Ben

    19 April, 2012

    "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). As many have noted, budgets are moral documents. To be sure they are political documents, and represent the outcome of a drawn-out, and sometimes bitter, process of contest and compromise. But they also reflect deep-rooted convictions and beliefs about what is necessary, what is good, what is worthy of investment. The budget is the Government's commitment of our shared resources to projects aimed at supporting the common good. In 2007, from Opposition, the Australian Labor Party made a historic commitment to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015–16. This commitment was affirmed when Labor took office in 2007, and reaffirmed in 2010. It has become Coalition policy as well – so it is a bipartisan commitment. By the way, this bipartisan commitment amounts to investing just 50 cents of every $100 of national income in aid to the poor. Looked at that way, it's certainly not an overly generous… read more

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  • Confessions of a first time letter writer

    Posted by Laura

    11 April, 2012

    I think the last time I went to Canberra was back in 2002, for a Year 6 excursion. Back then, the highlight was, undoubtedly, Questacon. I love that place! A few weeks ago, I spent two days in Canberra, but this time I was at Parliament House with the WASH Reference Group - representing 26 water and sanitation NGOs and academic research institutions. We met with politicians, and government agencies, with the specific purpose of talking about water, sanitation and hygiene. I'm far from being an expert at water and sanitation. But the more I'm learning about the impact that simple sanitation measures can have on the lives and well-being of people in the developing world, the more I'm becoming a fan of focusing our attention and aid dollars on that sector. The WASH Reference Group includes a huge range of expertise - engineers, public health practitioners and researchers, with specialties and experiences a number of different of countries, contexts and program types. The overwhelming feeling is that money spent on water and sanitation, is money well… read more

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